Time to change the way time is changed

Michael Swickard, Ph.D. is a radio talk show host, columnist and former educator.

Guest commentary

Michael Swickard, Ph.D.

© 2011 

It is time we change the way time is changed twice a year in most of our country. Specifically, it is time to throw out Daylight Saving Time (DST) and throw it out for good. I wonder if we can get someone to sponsor a Congressional bill to make this change. Most Americans would get along fine with year-round regular time.

While government does not give up power over the people willingly, we can make a case we should change what government is doing now. The government nannies and minders say they have our best interests in mind with DST.

They say that during the summer months there is more time in the evening to recreate with DST, so we should use that time rather than lose it. Still, when DST starts, it is mid March and it is November when the time changes back. There is a lot of time that is not summer.

Certainly, I would only grouse a little about what the government is forcing us to do if DST began on Memorial Day and changed back on Labor Day. We would know it was just for the summer. I could live with it if I had to do so. But to have the change a week into November? No, it is time to stop DST.

I have no trouble with government setting important standards such as vehicles drive on the right side of the road or that the red stripe is on the top of the flag. They can assign Social Security numbers and apportion Congress every 10 years. It is a good idea to have the Center for Disease Control and a military that keeps us free from foreign dictators.

Someone has to decide important things like when there will be elections. I get a warm fuzzy feeling when the government is engaged in doing the things a government should do. But there are so many things the government gets into that I feel are not really the legitimate role of government in a free society. Of course all discussions about government sooner or later end up on where to draw lines.

There are the relatively mindless things we end up doing because our government make us such as DST. The first mass use of DST was during the First World War. Even then it did not pass the sniff test because people can arise whenever they decide. People have just gone along with the government because “You cannot fight city hall” types of thinking.

There are other things our government minders have added to our increasing bucket of intrusion into our lives. Look at the CFL bulbs that bring a toxicity to the kitchen if you drop them rather than using more electricity with the old bulbs. Which is more harmful to us, paying more for electric bills or the mercury on our kitchen floor?

Our government is trying to force us to use the new bulbs which many people resist. Why should the government be in charge of what light bulb I use in the first place? The government is found advocating for a political position not supported by science and doing so in ways that injure our freedom to act as we please.

What I eat for lunch is a stretch as to if it is the business of government. When it comes to what we put on our plate we get lots of conflicting rules and regulations. I should use margarine instead of butter, wait, no; I should not use margarine instead of butter. No, wait; I should not use margarine or butter. Wait, skip all spreads and just eat your toast dry, you will live longer. And, if you do not live longer, eating dry toast will make you feel like you lived longer.

Coffee is bad for you, no, it is good for you. Take your flu shot, wait, do not get shots at all, no, get the shots. We are inundated with helpful advice which is fine with me because I can ignore almost anything. The rub is when it is not advice; rather, it is a commandment to change my behavior for a political ideal. Now that is something else.

Look at the attempt to make smokers look at dead bodies on the packs of cigarettes. What gives the government the right to advocate (even if they are right) for Americans to stop doing something that is legal. Likewise, my government is giving me little hints and some not so little hints about my storage of calories beyond what my government thinks is wise for me.

This all plays out on a canvas of “We know better what is best for you than you know for yourself.” Perhaps that might be true in some instances but nothing in our Constitution authorizes government to take this role. Each citizen is responsible for themselves. If they want to ignore good advice it is fine. When we go out in the summer daylight is entirely up to us.

If we are to reverse the intrusive nature of government, a convenient first starting point could be with the government mandated DST. Would it not be nice to just skip it for a few years to see if we Americans are better off without having to remember the saying, fall back spring forward.

We need a bill in Congress to abolish DST.

Dr. Michael Swickard is co-host of radio talk show News New Mexico 6 to 9 a.m. Monday – Friday on a number of New Mexico radio stations and through streaming. Email: michael@swickard.com




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