So as I'm sure you know, the Senate quickly passed — unanimously, mind you; unanimously — a bill that would render Daylight Savings Time permanent. Now, all specifics aside, I think one should quake in terror at the prospect of pretty much any legislation that would rapidly pass a current chamber of Congress without any opposition. One can safely assume that whatever the topic and whatever the legislation's intended consequences, the unintended ones will be monstrous. (UPDATE: The fact that this particular legislation appears to have passed due more to incompetence than malevolence is not, um, any more reassuring.)
Obviously, that is the case with this bill, which threatens the entire country with dark winter mornings and will, in about nine or ten months, provoke a hue and cry from parents and early morning workers that will likely dwarf the current iteration of culture wars. After all, that's exactly what happened in 1974, when we first tried this experiment.
I was four years old in 1974, so I have no firsthand memory of it, but I'm a little surprised that I either had never learned of it, or (more likely) had once heard about it but, until the current controversy, had forgotten about it. It's a perfect example of how we, as humans, can't really be expected to learn from history because we don't even learn from our own lived past. I mean, 1974 wasn't that long ago — Joe Biden was in the Senate!
Alan Jacobs is on fire today in a blog post that explains why we get grumpy as we age: because we keep experiencing the same damn things over and over, and not only does nobody else learn from them, nobody else even seems to remember that they already happened.
He goes on not only to diagnose the problem — not the repetition itself, but our response to it, which is usually either increasing frustration or a nihilistic detachment — but to propose a cure, of sorts. It's certainly not a quick-fix solution but perhaps the only one we have, to seek a detachment that is not based in being an asshole but in finding peace:
"The first step, I guess, is to know what the Bible teaches, what the Lord commands of us. The second step is to understand that if I can shame and silence my neighbor with a Bible verse but have not love, I am no better than a clanging cymbal. The third step, the terrifying step, is to hold my tongue until I can love the Troy Chathams in my life."