Typically in the week after the “Fall Back” change interest in DST drops off a cliff. People are just too depressed coming home from work in the dark, so they plop on the couch and start watching TV. (eds. note: Is this a story?) With all that, Halloween behind us, lots of work to do and the holidays barreling toward us, nobody is able to care enough to even Google DST and figure out what to do.
But nearly a full week after the change, I just heard what was probably the most nuanced and spot-on view of the politics surrounding Daylight Saving Time, maybe ever.
Here it is. The whole show is funny, but the DST bit starts about 53:30.
Several little things here:
- Of the items on the Rant Wheel, only DST got the audience laughing just by saying the name.
- Jon said that he’s asked eight different candidates what their position is on DST. I've only seen Yang's view. (He’s on board.) What are the others' views???
- The presentation about the science was great. Not to toot my own horn here, but I'm really glad that I made that research page like three or four years ago so that people would start treating this like the public health issue that it is, not a quirky annoyance that we endure for the farmers for some damn reason.
But the best part was the way that Jon basically walked all of us through his own evolution. He started out thinking that we should all just do what he would like the best, but he studied it and came up with some nuance, which is rare in the world of politics.
And he came so so close to the right solution, but didn't quite get all the way.
Jon, we haven't met, but allow me to pitch in, if you will.
You started out thinking that we should all just go to permanent DST. You pointed out, correctly, that the most deadly part of the whole DST thing is the “Spring Forward” change, when heart attacks spike. (Traffic accidents, strokes, workplace accidents, too, but just the heart attack thing is plenty.)
And you point out that the fall change plunges many of us into a forced “Well of depression.”
But then you go into a discussion of if it's better for states to be in Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time.
The evolution you made was a great one, but you didn't address, at least directly, the first issue, the one about not making the switch twice a year.
What we need to do is first say that we won't be switching the clocks. Hence the hashtag: #LockTheClock.
And then we should do exactly what you say, and let the states decide. You are right, this is actually an instance of non-racist states rights.
If we do it your way—some states on Standard, some states on DST, some still switching—we end up with a confused patchwork of states that will make everyone a little crazy. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 was written to clean up just that exact problem.
Luckily, there is a solution, and I'm sort of surprised you didn't mention it given how much research you clearly did.
The solution comes to us from Europe, where the European Union made the decision to end the clock changing in 2021, and gave the member countries up until then to figure out which time zone they want to be in permanently.
If we did that we would:
- address your point about states rights,
- fix the “Spring Forward into your sudden and painful death” change problem, and
- allow for differences in geography.
As a bonus, that will give everyone some time to figure out the school start times and all the rest of the ancillary issues.
So, Jon, great work, and now just one more step to make in your evolution on this issue and you'll be at the one sane place that could actually happen.
I’m hoping that with that one more step you will—quoting your mission statement— “decide that you want to help fix this mess too.”
But overall, thanks so much for your rant. It was really great and will advance the conversation a lot.