Our Long National Nightmare May Finally Be Over

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Getty Images

Partisan gridlock in the Senate has opened up to fight the real enemy: that foul ruiner of moods better known as daylight saving time. On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved the Sunshine Protection Act, which would end the practice of changing the clocks twice a year by November 2023 and bring peace to those Americans whose serotonin crashes when it gets dark in the middle of the afternoon for no good reason at all.

“If we can get this passed, we don’t have to keep doing this stupidity anymore,” co-author Marco Rubio said on the Senate floor. “Why we would enshrine this in our laws and keep it for so long is beyond me.” Kyrsten Sinema, who was presiding over the Senate, was thrilled, saying “Oh, I love it.” Considering her close ties to big pharma, one might expect the Arizona senator to reject a bill that could resolve symptoms of seasonal affective disorder without pharmaceutical intervention; however, her state is one of two that does not observe daylight saving time, due to a carve-out over the extreme heat in the high desert.

If the bill goes through in the House and President Joe Biden agrees to end this temporal malarkey, it would mean that the 2023 “spring forward” would be the last-ever time Americans will automatically lose an hour of sleep due to DST. Advocates, including the bill’s co-authors, Marco Rubio and Senate Health Committee Chair Patty Murray, point to evidence that changing the clocks in the winter increases the risk of stroke and reduces exercise time for Americans of all ages. Detractors, including self-professed “morning people” who are already plenty productive, argue that it would cut an hour of sunlight during the early hours in the winter, leaving children to journey to school in darkness — which millions of kids are already experiencing due to the (arguably far too) early start-time of American schools.

This is not the first time that lawmakers have tried to end this low-grade solar crisis. Following the 1973 oil embargo by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, Congress ran a year-long trial making daylight saving permanent, which Americans largely rejected. However, we’ve learned a lot since the mid-’70s: An Economist/YouGov poll from November showed that two-thirds of Americans want to stop messing with the clock. Those Americans can now know hope.

Our Long National Nightmare May Finally Be Over