Daylight Satan's Time

Dateline: Mon 13 Nov 2006

As I drained the last drops from the bottle of Smirnoff's vodka late Monday -- yes, I have resumed drinking under these very adverse conditions, in this Indiana midnight of the soul -- I considered the issue that drove me back to the bottle: Daylight Satan's Time.

That's how Hoosiers in the sticks, time and again, referred to Daylight Savings Times, back when I was writing a metro/state column for The Star. The turn of phrase, worthy of a major ad campaign from Hell, was designed to buck and smash DST. If you can't come up with a valid reason for opposition, invoke the Diety's arch-enemy. (To say nothing of the image of pathetic Hoosier schoolchildren shivering in the dark waiting for the school buses, the poor blind Hoosiers driving to work in twilight, etc etc etc.) Why not revoke cold winters???? Isn't it positively demonic that there's not enough sun in Indiana???

Now we can count new House Majority leader Rep. Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, as one of our loyal anti-Satanic Hoosier sons. He's already made noise that he'll do what he can to reopen the debate on DST. No wonder Gov. Mitch Daniels called Bauer a throwback politician. Tit for tat. I'll trade you one Devil's advocate for one throwback.

Into this Putnam County late night gloom comes a slender ray of light: the editorial from Indianapolis Business Journal/Nov. 13-19: "Pick Your Battles: Don't Revisit DST."

"We're not corn-picking rubes who can't figure out how to adjust our clocks twice a year, but we certainly gave that impression pre-DST," says the IBJ. "Do we really want to restore that reputation?"

The IBJ argument is simply that Indiana needs to be in sync with the nation (!). "Consider the business advantages: no more missed opportunities simply because no one can figure out what time it is in Indiana," says the IBJ, sensibly.

Finally, the IBJ admonishes Indiana Dems to remember that the passage of DST was bipartisan and that we have bigger fish to fry --"money for public education and making property taxes less painful."

There is work to be done. Not undone. Or maybe the whole state should just sink into alcoholism. That could become another No. 1 ranking for us, along with obesity, failure to graduate, and our foreclosure rate.

comments; ruth@ruthholladay.com

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