It’s reassuring that even in this hostile, partisan political climate, real progress can be made. I’m speaking, of course, of the California Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee’s decision to pass along AB 385, a bill that would abolish daylight saving time in the state. Sure, the bill needs to pass both legislative chambers by a two-thirds majority and get Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature just to reach voters, but we’re one step closer to ridding ourselves of one of the most antiquated practices in America.
This is long overdue. Daylight saving time is a monument to man’s arrogance. Just think about the name: “daylight saving time.” Setting our clocks forward an hour does not save daylight. The rotation of our planet is an act of nature. Earth is not capable of empathy, so it sure as hell doesn’t care about your work schedule. You can reset every clock you own twice a year if you want, but it won’t tilt the planet’s axis.
Obviously, humanity has to count time — it’s one way we make order of our chaotic existence. But daylight saving time runs opposite to this idea: It creates chaos. And I don’t mean this in a vague, “it adds an ugly wrinkle to our day-to-day understanding of time” sense. I mean it literally creates chaos: Car crashes, workplace accidents, and even heart attacks are more likely to occur on the first Monday after daylight saving time than on most other days of the year. And it doesn’t even save energy or help farmers, both of which are common misconceptions. Why the hell are we even observing this tradition?
Is it because you like long, warm, summer nights? Those will still be here — it’s summer! The days will be long regardless! Or is it because you don’t want to get up when it’s still dark out in the winter? That’s OK, the California bill would keep the state on standard time, which is what we’re on in winter, anyway. And, again, none of this changes anything about the order of the solar system. The only thing that will change is our expectations for a day’s length, which is itself an illusion. The sun will appear in the sky for the same amount of time, and everyone can adjust their schedules as needed, which makes more sense than trying to force the realities of nature to adjust to us.
It’s time for the rest of the country to catch up to Arizona by copying the only thing that state has ever gotten right.
So, congratulations to California for questioning societal norms and pushing us toward a more efficient future. It’s nice that in a world that increasingly feels like House of Cards, there’s a pocket of political activity that more resembles The West Wing. Take a bow, Assemblyman Kansen Chu. This is the type of sweeping reform that young political activists everywhere dream of.
And if you still feel like you don’t get enough daylight in the winter months, just be thankful you don’t live in Alaska. No amount of “daylight saving” will help you there — or anywhere.