Why is it one of the few issues with bipartisan support?
As the clocks struck two a.m. this past Sunday morning, Nov. 5, every clock was simultaneously set back to one a.m., marking the fall-back timing under daylight savings time. Americans received one extra hour of sleep, were discombobulated by a shocking middle-of-the-night glance at the time and irate at the early hour of sunset. However, in 2022, the United States Senate approved a bill that would make daylight savings time permanent beginning this year, thereby ending the bi-annual clock-changing tradition.
This federal bill, titled the Sunshine Protection Act, would reflect changes in the policies of 19 states across the United States. As the semester comes to a close, we at the Technique wish to discuss the seemingly frivolous pros and cons of daylight savings, as well as the grand scheme implications of its affiliated legislation.
From a more general standpoint, daylight savings does offer some positive elements. Children are able to get on buses to school while there is light outside, and it may help those who work handle mornings of stress.
However, more glaringly, daylight savings can have many drawbacks. The sun sets far earlier, leading to dark evenings when many drive home from work or participate in after-school activities such as sports practices. It can also be detrimental to the working class and people working night shifts.
As daylight savings is not a worldwide practice, difficulties with time conversions persist, at times isolating people with international ties. It can result in disturbed circadian rhythms and harm people’s sleep patterns. Worse, it can lead to increased incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons, such as fall or winter.
Daylight savings is an example of an archaic policy, as its practice is based in tradition from days of candlelit homes and widespread agriculture in the United States, circa 1800s. Contemporarily, daylight savings exists almost as a novelty.
There are gapingly large demographics who are simply unimpacted by daylight savings, from college students who sleep late like ourselves on the Technique editorial board, to older communities who sleep very early. Either way, many people hardly even face changes associated with daylight savings.
Daylight savings is not just a tired and unnecessary practice; it can also serve as a tangible demonstration of Congress’ failures. Americans question whether daylight savings truly affects energy prices or has other economic implications.
This also begs the question of whether the United States puts materials and resources over the betterment of its people. However, the government is too tied down by tradition, even with data proving daylight savings’ drawbacks.
Further, daylight savings has been one of the very few issues in which bipartisan agreement has been reached. While it may serve as a moment of break for Congress and a place where legislators can reach across the aisle, issues such as this allow representatives to skirt around the real issues plaguing the United States.
As the U.S. government stands on the brink of yet another partial shutdown, it is frustrating to see that the parties can only agree or find compromise on extremely menial matters. The government continually focuses on trivial issues that can be widely popularized to avoid conflict surrounding real problems in the United States — the Nov. 17 shutdown deadline is just one example of many.
Moving forward, Congress must continue to promote bipartisanship with bills such as the Sunshine Protection Act, but they must also learn to discuss serious political topics and reach true compromise on behalf of the American people.
On the other hand, daylight savings as an entity is not necessary. It complicates the time system and disturbs people’s lives. The board’s consensus surrounding daylight savings is that it is useless, so there is no point in keeping it. The drawbacks outweigh the benefits, the latter mainly being subjective preferences. Regardless of whether daylight savings becomes permanent or not, standardization of time — eliminating time changes altogether — would certainly make our already difficult lives much simpler.
The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.