Photo: Victoria Richman / The Daily Gamecock

Column: Daylight saving time subverts democracy

Raise your hand if you like daylight saving time.

Put your hand down. No one likes daylight saving time.

Winding ourselves back and forward an hour so frequently has caused so much harm that you can actually quantify it. Workplace injuries and traffic accidents both increase the Monday after the time change as we panic ourselves out of bed. We are not machines that can be reprogrammed like our clocks every spring. Jerking ourselves through time boggles the mind and the body. 

As The Daily Gamecock reported last year, DST doesn’t actually save electricity, nor does it have any other positive effect on the average joe. “Ah, but what of the humble farmer?” you object. “They’re who DST is really meant for.” 

Well, that’s a myth. They appreciate that hour as much as the rest of us do, so you can put your sympathies to rest. In fact, farmers were one of the loudest voices against making DST a law. They loathed the idea from the get-go, and today so does much of America.

If it’s stupid and generally disliked, then why hasn’t it made like a banana and split? Three words: secret shadow government. The very sort of thing Bernie Sanders wagged his finger about. The bigwigs in Washington are in the pockets of the corporations. Time is money, and it’s the barbecue lobby that controls both.

One more month of DST means $100 million more profit for them. And it’s not just them. The golf lobby is in on it to, except they see twice the profit. It’s a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top. First it was the Chamber of Commerce pushing for more shoppers at malls, and most recently it was the candy industry looking to get kids trick or treating more. They’ve all been pushing Congress hard to wind our clocks forward every spring. The candy lobby, in a desperate bid to extend DST, once even put a candy pumpkin on the seat of every U.S. senator. 

Thanks to their influence, which no grass roots movement can match, the lobbyists won. In the biggest blunder of his presidency, George W. Bush signed into law a bill that extended DST to eight months out of the year. Standard time now covers only a third of our calendar. Lobbyists have already rendered language pointless, warping our sense of what is and isn’t standard. 

It’s a complete subversion of democracy. For a few checks, a selfish few have as much sway over time as the moon does the tides. Almost as if a dollar is worth more than a ballot. In a rat race to the bottom, corporations have found another resource to exploit: time. And Congress has been too busy counting their cheese to see the consequences. Daylight saving has been demonstrably detrimental to the wellbeing of this country, but corporations are people, too, and apparently their vote counts more than ours. 

It’s time to take our time back into our own hands. Something so fundamental to our lives should not be decided by the bottom dollar. And this doesn’t just go for daylight saving time, but gun control and healthcare and renewable energy and every lobbyist donation ever intended to raise profit at the expense of our wellbeing.



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