SURRATT: Can daylight savings time become permanent?

Published 4:00 am Friday, March 25, 2022

I read last week that the U.S. Senate passed a bill to extend daylight savings time.

Apparently, the other problems of the U.S. and the world can’t hold a candle to someone wanting to have a few hours more to catch a tan or get in that extra round of golf. But since the bill by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., known as the “Sunshine Protection Act,” had co-sponsors from both parties and passed unanimously, I guess we can say the Senators finally found something they can agree on.

If you go back and search the Internet and the history books and encyclopedias, you’ll find daylight savings time has been around a long time.

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According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Benjamin Franklin first suggested it in an essay in 1784.

In 1909 the British House of Commons rejected a bill to advance the clock by one hour in the spring and return to Greenwich Mean Time in the autumn.

Daylight savings time was promoted as a way to help farmers have more time to plant or harvest crops and in World War I and II the United States, England and several other countries went to daylight savings time to save energy.

Now back to the present.

Finally, for some people, there’s an opportunity to rid themselves of an annual inconvenience. No more having to race through the house quickly resetting clocks and asking that age-old question, “Spring forward? Fall back?” No more getting up, finding you’ve forgotten to set your clock back or forward, rushing to get dressed and breaking the land speed record to reach your rendezvous — whether lunch with someone, church or family gathering — and finding out you missed whatever you were supposed to attend.

Just remember, sticking solely with daylight savings time takes the “I forgot to reset my clock back (or forward),” excuse away from your repertoire of excuses you can make for missing something you didn’t want to attend in the first place.

I can see some advantages to keeping daylight savings time — you get to spend more outside time playing golf or tennis or walking in the warm (hot!) summer sun. You can keep your kids out longer and you can have longer picnics before the mosquitoes begin to annoy you — actually, mosquitoes can annoy you any time of the day in the summer. Because the days are longer and hotter, your air conditioner works harder, meaning the utility company can make more money.

Daylight savings time means more sun in the winter and possibly a lower heating bill. It also means, as one columnist pointed out, children will get ready for school and wait for the bus in the dark on winter mornings. As a parent, I can speak to the trials and tribulations of getting a child ready for school in semi-illumination. I can only imagine what it’s like trying to get a groggy child ready for school in the dark when the urge to stay in bed is the strongest.

We’re talking about getting kids ready for school, meaning neither the flesh nor the spirit is willing and both are weak.

The Sunshine Protection Act is now in the hands of the House. It will be interesting to see what happens. Maybe it will pass. And we’ll learn that it, like other things from Washington, is not as good as we thought.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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