The U.S. Senate passed a bill on March 15 called the Sunshine Protection Act to make daylight saving time the new, permanent standard time.
DST was instituted in 1918 to save energy during World War I. During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted “war time,” a year-round daylight-saving time, to save energy. After the year-round shift ended in 1945, many states adopted their own summertime changes. The U.S. had year-round daylight saving once again in 1973 but returned to regular summer saving by 1975.
Daylight saving time as I knew it growing up was from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, however, the current iteration starts the second Sunday in March and ends on the second Sunday in November.
Personally, I am not too much of a fan. I love the extra hour of sleep but I hate losing the hour. So why not just keep standard time? The real reason for DST is capitalism. Seemingly, Congress can’t agree on anything other than capitalism and war, which ironically, or not ironically, fit like a hand in a glove.
Congress won’t fund a bill that will address many of the issues impacting Americans, like reducing healthcare costs, providing universal pre-K for families, or addressing climate change but it can fund foreign policy initiatives, including supporting Ukraine. This is to say, it’s BS when politicians say they can’t find the money to pay for things. They simply don’t have the political will to pay for what people need. Congress can pass a bill to maintain DST, but it can’t pass voting rights legislation or any kind of legislation to extend stimulus payments or cancel student loans. It’s because the economy matters more than the needs of people, namely workers.
If you manufacture a shift in time affording more sunlight as people work, you create conditions for people to work longer days, utilizing a key resource, free of cost. This bill isn’t about providing people with more daylight to go on day trips with their families. It’s providing the illusion of more time yet companies that want to do outdoor work “activities” throughout the day will have more time also… and we want to keep people outdoors and working longer. Meanwhile we’re still in a global pandemic where covid numbers are rising in China and Europe.
But wait … we have a vaccine, right?
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The covid vaccine wasn’t so much about keeping Americans safe from sickness as it was keeping Americans alive enough to work. It wasn’t about keeping kids safe enough to learn but keeping kids alive enough so their parents could go to work. I remember the market’s plea to keep businesses open although it was hazardous to do so. I get people needing their paycheck, but a government stimulus program like the one implemented in Europe is what workers needed. Instead, workers were praised as essential. Seeing through the BS, many quit their jobs. Why? Because at the end of the day, workers understand that in a capitalist system, they don’t matter.
Politicians believe the people, particularly Black and Brown people, would be made lazy by social welfare, yet they believe in corporate welfare, because of course, socialism should only be for the capitalists. The same is true for daylight saving time. Because more daylight only means less fun in the sun and more exploitation with the earth’s rotation.
Rann Miller is the director of anti-bias and DEI initiatives as well as a high school social studies teacher for a school district located in Southern New Jersey. He’s also a freelance writer and founder of the Urban Education Mixtape, supporting urban educators and parents of students in urban schools. You can follow him on Twitter @UrbanEdDJ .