This piece is for Diane, who challenged me to argue why Indiana (and, by extension, Arizona and a few counties in Ohio and Kentucky) should adopt Daylight Savings time. Thanks, Diane, I didn’t realize you’d end up sticking me in the middle of a struggle that borders on the religious.
Anyway… Daylight Savings Time was first imposed in Germany during World War I, and England soon followed suit. The U.S. followed suit in 1918, lumping it into the same package that gave us the four time zones that straddle the contiguous 48 states. It went away, but was brought back for World War II and has continued ever since.
The basic idea was to try to adjust the clock to match the changing day/night cycle, much like Leap Years balance out the inconsiderate Earth’s habit of not completing a year in exactly 365 days. By shifting the perceived time, it would “maximize” the daylight hours without having to shift daily scheduled events — like work hours.
Naturally, there were opponents. People protested having to shift their internal clocks to adapt to external schedules, rather than vice versa. It was also seen as a move by “big government” to arbitrarily assert its power over even the most minute details of people’s lives.
The argument still goes on today. As noted above, there are places in the U.S. that still refuse to adopt Daylight Savings time. Consequently, there are some places in Indiana that find themselves separated by two hours from their neighbors. And twice a year, Paul Harvey can be counted to call upon its dismantling on his radio program.
I happen to agree. It is a stupid idea. But, like so many other stupid ideas, its mere stupidity isn’t enough to get it to go away. Daylight Savings Time has had too long to take root and implant itself in our culture. Nowadays VCRs and computers automagically adapt themselves to DST twice a year.
To the residents of Indiana, Arizona, and the aforementioned counties of Ohio and Kentucky: it’s over. Give it up. You fought a good fight (hell, I’ll even say you fought the right fight), but you lost. It’s time to surrender to the inevitable. Sometimes stupid wins, and it’s just easier and better to hang it up and save the energy for another fight.
Daylight Savings Time: it’s stupid, it’s pointless, it’s annoying, and it’s here to stay. Adapt and MoveOn, already.