Daylight Saving and the Electoral College – Traditions in Urgent Need of Trashing
While I’m not generally known for brevity in conveying my thoughts via this medium, I’m afraid my remarks this week will have to be a bit more abbreviated than usual – although I know some readers, as well as my editor, may not be especially sorry to hear that.
But the reason I now find myself so pressed for time is precisely one of the things I wanted to address in this uncommonly concise commentary.
You see, not only am I in the midst of moving, which everyone who has ever conveyed their possessions from one locale to another knows has a way of eating up every available spare moment, but I now find myself even further behind schedule due to my having been robbed of an entire precious hour in an already overcrowded weekend.
In short, it’s high time for this bothersome business of Daylight Saving Time to be relegated to a realm where it will never again see the light of day.
And it’s not the only obsolete observance that needs to be shoveled onto the ash heap of history. But more on that in a moment.
Besides being incredibly inconvenient, DST, which is supposed to be an energy-saving measure, can also be injurious, and even deadly for many people. It’s well established that the days immediately following the weakened weekend it creates are characterized by a marked increase in car and workplace accidents, as well as in heart attacks and headaches. These repercussions are no doubt the result of that lost hour of sleep and our circadian rhythms responsible for the release of certain hormones being suddenly thrown off kilter.
Of course, the powers behind the preservation of this archaic alteration in our schedules are well aware of all this, but nonetheless stalwartly refuse to free us from its disruptive grip.
And DST isn’t the only such preposterous policy to be perpetuated in this manner. There’s another one – a strictly American, rather than international institution like DST – that has proven itself to be even more destructive, and yet continues to be touted as some sort of Holy Writ from the Founding Fathers.
I’m referring to that enraging entity known as the Electoral College.
What’s really ironic about this cockamamie contrivance is that the very same factions that have raised concerns, with no real evidence to back them up, that some people may be voting more than once tend to have no problem with a system of choosing a president that gives ballots cast in some places far more clout than those counted in others. So “unequal” is this method of holding an election, in fact, that, as has now been clearly demonstrated, it can put someone into office who somehow came in nearly three million votes behind his or her opponent.
In fact, we have experienced not one, but two recent egregious examples of the disastrous consequences this anti-democratic anomaly in our so-called democratic system of choosing our top leadership can have.
The first, of course, was the installation of George W, Bush, the popular loser in the 2000 election, who proceeded to initiate a needless and catastrophic war that ended up costing us the lives of thousands of military personnel, physically or psychologically injuring tens of thousands more, draining our treasury of $2 trillion or more dollars, and helping to create the terroristic threat of ISIS.
And now we’ve got an even bigger loser sitting in the Oval Office – one who in a short time has managed to create chaos in the lives of countless migrant families, begun the process of nullifying numerous regulations aimed at protecting the health and safety of the American public and heading off the impending threat of climate change, and to degrade both the office of the presidency and the country’s image in the world with his insane insinuations.
And all because we’re loath to let go of a “tradition”’ that is currently about as archaic as the 20-year-old word processor that I’m now in the process of getting rid of rather than moving it to our new abode.
In closing, I guess what I’m trying to say is:
(1) people need sleep a lot more than an additional hour of sun in the evening, and
(2) they need to have a system of deciding who will be in charge of the country and its nuclear codes that, to borrow a line recently used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in suggesting he change jobs with Donald Trump, would enable them to “finally sleep comfortable again.”
Bill Bonvie of Little Egg Harbor Township is the author of the essay collection Repeat Offenders and co-author of the recently released Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in your Diet – and how to Avoid Them.