Yesterday the United States Senate voted unanimously to make Daylight Savings Time permanent. If you wondered whether our fractured political bodies could ever agree on anything significant, there’s your answer: in the Senate, at least, Democrats and Republicans alike share a common position on time itself.
Of course, “Daylight Savings Time” is an appealing, but ultimately misleading, name. “Springing ahead” doesn’t actually “save” any daylight, it just shifts it from the morning to the afternoon. There will still be the same amount of sunlight on the shortest days of the year; the only issue is when you want to to experience it. The Senate has cast its lot with the afternooner lobby, which has been making constant inroads on our “Standard time” period over the past few decades, leaving it shorter and shorter. If the House follows suit, and President Biden signs the legislation, the change to permanent DST will literally leave “morning people” in the dark for an hour longer during the winter months.
What would it mean, practically? Well, we wouldn’t have to fiddle with changing our clocks anymore. But if you live in Columbus, or anywhere else that is on the western edge of a time zone, you will experience exceptionally dark mornings during December and January. A Google search reveals that the sun rose in Columbus at 7:50 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, on December 21, 2021, the shortest day of the year–that is, the day with the least amount of sunlight. The shift to permanent DST would mean that the sunrise wouldn’t occur until 8:50 a.m. If you’re someone who’s got to clean snow or ice off your car to get to work, you’ll be doing it in the pre-dawn blackness, and it will feel colder.
The “daylight savings” versus “standard” time debate used to be a contentious one, with farmers, people working first shifts, other early risers, and people worried about kids going to school in the dark lining up on the standard time side. But the political winds have shifted, and we’ve become more of an end of day society that simply isn’t awake to enjoy those first rays of sunshine in the early morning Standard time hours. The fact that the Senate unanimously approved the change tells you all you need to know.