Before I begin this, I would like to write that I know that not all adults are harsh or bad, and I have a lot of respect for most adults I know personally. If you are a non-judging adult, then please dismiss the following, somewhat harsh letter. To those of you to whom this letter applies, maybe you don’t know who you are, but please evaluate yourself so that maybe you can see the truth of what you’re doing.

Every time I open up a newspaper, or flip on the TV or computer, I find at least one thing to make me outraged at how teenagers are judged. Being a 17-year-old girl, I ask all of you adults the question, “Who are you to judge?”

At one time, yes, you were our age, but you did not have to grow up in the corrupt society today. Many adults complain about us. Many adults talk about how we need educating, how we need to be taught about sex and the weary ways of the world. Guess what? We aren’t dumb, we know about sex, STDs, and the chances of becoming pregnant, and it’s still happening.

The very idea that many of you think reading from a book in our prison-like school establishments will take the place of learning from experience shows ignorance.

You complain about us and our wasteful lifestyles, yet you obviously have no idea what worries we have to deal with today. We teenagers did not allow war, we did not pollute and build factories, we did not develop a sexist society, we did not ruin the educational system, we did not allow the government to gain such control over its citizens. We did not elect Clinton, or Bush, we did not create an economic crisis.

You as adults feel you have the right to judge us, but when you were young you did not have to worry about whether there would be clean water when you grow up and want to raise children. You did not worry about ecosystems being destroyed, and species dying off at alarmingly fast rates. You did not have to worry about the possibility of living on the streets because of a looming depression and failing job market. You did not have to worry about the after-effects of a war that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon, as people in the government push the date to bring troops home farther into the future.

Since you do not know what it’s like to be a teenager today, remember this for our sake; an old Indian proverb says, “The Earth does not belong to us so that we may give it to our children, rather, the Earth belongs to our children, and we are merely borrowing it from them.”