As the election cycle ramps up, it becomes more and more apparent the many philosophical divisions splitting our country here in the United States. In her story “The We of Me” (The Rumpus), Lucy Jane Bledsoe takes us into a future dystopia where her characters—our descendants—are drawn to transcend the different iterations of those same divisions and connect with those different from them, no matter the cost.
The story begins with the thirteen-year-old female narrator and Jim taking an evening walk in a wild, nomadic America (with no industry, technology, or centralized government to speak of). We learn that the narrator and Jim belong to very different camps with roots in our own current system. The narrator’s group—We—are clearly open and progressive in their views on the human body, relationships, and tend to spurn any rule. The People—nicknamed “Second Amenders” by the narrator’s group—are much different.
“I have no idea why we call them the Second Amenders. Roxanne says it’s because of their guns, but that doesn’t make any kind of sense. What do guns have to do with amends? Jesus says it’s because they’re descendants of a people who were obsessed with wrongdoing, and so they have to make amends all the time. Sasha says it’s their compulsion about rules, which they are constantly amending.”