clocks

The first evening after Daylight Saving Time returns at the start of spring is a little like when you come out of an optometrist's office with a new pair of glasses, seeing everything in clear-eyed wonder, as if for the first time.

I didn’t know what I was missing – there’s life after 6 p.m.!

Sunlight!

Joy!

Hope!

On the opposite end of this emotional continuum is the end of Daylight Saving Time – a cruel trick to our circadian rhythm that renders us bummed and groggy for days on end each fall.

Hello, darkness my old friend.

We meet again.

We found ourselves pondering such melancholy on Monday night, when what had been a twilight commute was plunged into darkness.

The ritual continues.

We don’t get it.

Why do we endure this man-made irritant, a holdover from temporary fuel-saving efforts during World War I? Why do we do this to ourselves?

The changeover to and from Daylight Saving Time is bad for our sleep cycle and morale. It means kids wait for buses and have afterschool activities in the dark. And don’t get us started us on changing all the clocks – by our count, the Herald & Review office had four erroneous ones at close of business Monday.

(And yeah, it’s technically Daylight “Saving” Time, not “Savings,” another reason the whole thing is silly.)

Granted, these are decidedly minor inconveniences in the grand three-ring circus that is the human experience. We should be so lucky to be complaining about a dreaded extra hour of sleep. The humanity!

But that doesn’t mean it’s not annoying. Impractical. It’s also unpopular – as history shows.  

In fact, Daylight Saving Time actually fell out favor after World War II and some communities dumped it entirely. That caused a bunch of confusion, so the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966 to get everyone on the same page. 

Not that everyone did. The legislation had an opt-out clause, and today American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona don't abide.

Last year, 13 states considered bills related to Daylight Saving Time, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures, which tracks such things.

And in 2015, Illinois state Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) introduced legislation to make Daylight Saving Time the standard year-round, although it fizzled. (This editorial board supported the plan.)

Mitchell now is retiring, which begs the question: Who will take up the Daylight Saving Time mantle in Springfield?

Our collective circadian rhythm is counting on it.

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