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01Jul08d Defining adulthood

Defining adulthood

Patrick L. Lilly

The Arlington Morning News (Dallas Morning News, Arlington Division) 1000 Ave. H.E. Arlington, TX 76011

To the Editor:

A million thanks for Michael Landauer's editorial on double standards regarding adulthood (“Mixed messages—a rite of passage,” AMN, 1 July). It's about time people starting pointing out the illogic and hypocrisy of our laws in calling people “adults” for purposes which hurt them, while still denying them the status of “adults” for purposes which work to their advantage.

I, too, have wondered how various people and institutions can have so many different answers at the same time to the simple question of whether or not a given individual is an adult.

Unfortunately a lot of the “how” is right there in the previous paragraph, with the observation that “[o]nce we clear all the possible legal thresholds for adulthood, we rarely look back. We rarely consider what it must be like for teens.”

This institutionalized silliness, and the more serious institutionalized injustices that go with it, will end when young adults start, in large numbers, to do two things: First, register and vote, instead of being the age group with the lowest attendance at the polls. Second, remember what life was like just a few short years earlier, and promise themselves, their younger siblings, and their children, that they will never participate in perpetuating the improprieties which were worked on them.

Sincerely, Patrick L. Lilly


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