Storytime, In Three Chapters.

posted in: Day In The Life 145
Flag of the United States of America. Image: Wikipedia.
Flag of the United States of America. Image: Wikipedia.



Settle in, friends, for a longer read. Get a fresh cup of tea; prepare a snack of the sweet or savory kind. Tuck your knees up under your seat and if you have a quilt, pull a quilt up over your lap. If you have a pet, pat the space next to you so your pet will come sit by you.

I don’t ask for much — I keep not doing a PaperGirl Pledge Drive because I just can’t bring myself to full on ask you for money — but this time I do want something from you and I want it fiercely. Read this post, please, and read all the way to the end. I initially broke this up into three different posts, but I can’t risk parts being jumbled up, so I’ve fashioned a chapter book.

Pendennis, I’ll have you know, is on my lap. I literally went to the shelf to get him when I started this piece this morning and I put him in my lap as I wrote. I need him as a source of strength because I am afraid to write what I am writing, have been afraid to write this for a solid year. I write to you all in the spirit of Pendennis.

Chapter I

To begin, I have to tell you a story.

In 2007, I was working with the Neo-Futurists, the theater company you know I love very much. I was about a year into my ensemble-ship and I was more alive as an artist than I had ever been before, more satisfied with the work than I had ever been. But there was a big, fat fly in the ointment. I had a secret, and my secret isolated me from my new, brilliant, talented artistic family, something that I could not speak about for fear of…well, I didn’t know what, but I was afraid. The entire cast — indeed, the entire company, from ensemble members to the staff to the board and beyond that to every donor and audience member — were vocally, vociferously liberal in their politics.

I was not.

A few years prior, I had read some books and met some people and had some conversations that dazzled and inspired me and I had a cascade of revelations. Until then, I had always aligned myself with my Iowa-Dem-to-the-core family, but there was a lot about the liberal worldview that I had come to object to, had always sort of mildly been repulsed by — I cannot delve into details right now — and with the wind of dissidence in my sails from all this book learnin’, I finally copped to it, much to the horror of my mother and sisters, who have never wavered in their views.

The thing was, I didn’t align with the conservatives, either. What was so electric about some of the ideology I was learning about, which was libertarian, basically, was that it was neither of those blunt, hulking sports teams known as Republican (red jerseys) or Democrat (blue jerseys.) For a good many years, when asked through which political lens I viewed the world, I’d say, with a bit of a bratty attitude caused as much by my political affiliations as my being in my mid-twenties, “I’m a libertarian.”

Okay, so back to the Neo-Futurists. There were many political plays in our show, which changed week to week. I was cast in 2006, during the Bush administration and during that time, Bush was loathed and lambasted in our show; his policies and supporters, of course, got the same treatment. I was a castmember during the first Obama campaign and election and Obama was basically worshiped, even as he appointed to his cabinet some of the same people who had all but engineered the financial collapse of our country, even as government surveillance increased, etc. Through all this, I kept my mouth shut.

Most everyone in the cast wrote political plays for the show. There were impassioned conversations about politics in rehearsal. But I was mum; mum in the show, mum in the room. Then one day, though I don’t recall the breaking point, I decided to break my silence.

I wrote a play called “Donkey Punch.” In it, I sat on the stage in a single spotlight and talked about the proposition of universal healthcare (I was skeptical); about the war in Iraq (I was not entirely opposed); I talked about illegal immigration (how aspects of it made me uncomfortable.) Between each of these statements, I had cast come out and beat me with red, white, and blue pillowcase puppets I had made into the shape of donkeys and elephants. At the end of the play, I rose to my feet and said, quite plainly, what the play was really about: It was about how afraid I was to be the only non-liberal in the room, how I was afraid that now that the people I loved knew that I was different, they wouldn’t like me and they wouldn’t want me there.

So began a terrible time. Some nights, I was booed from the audience, hissed at. The play lasted in the show just four weeks, which is not a long time for a strong piece in that show (politics aside, the aesthetic structure of the piece was true) but I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t the audience that was killing me: It was the ensemble. Not everyone, I must rush to point out, treated me badly, and more on that in a moment. Though most of my ensemble-mates treated me like my family did around all this — shocked and disappointed but sort of willing to ignore it — several members of the ensemble hated me. That’s not an exaggeration: They hated me. One of them proposed a piece at the following week’s rehearsal that aligned me with Hitler’s favorite filmmaker, Leine Riefenstahl. Another stood up from her seat and, pointing her finger at my face, told me I’d be sorry about what I was saying when I got sick one day and needed insurance; none of us could know that within a year, I would be gravely ill at Mayo Clinic. The other very angry person was the villain from this post, so it didn’t bother me as much, but still, and even with the lukewarm acceptance from other cast members of my outing myself as a non-liberal, I was a miserable creature, furious at myself for coming out, furious at a group of people who said they were tolerant but were the rabid opposite. I was afraid of the audience every time the play came up in the show. I was afraid that I actually didn’t know what I was talking about. Most deeply, I was in anguish that the politics got in the way of what the play was really about: Fear.

In the midst of all the grey storm clouds, there was a lining so silver, it has turned to gold in my memory. There was one person in the ensemble who showed the kind of courage in friendship you read about in great literature. Think Horatio. Think Samwise.

After the conversation around my play had reached a fever pitch (this was with one performance under my belt and when the finger-pointing and the Hitler references had been made), Neo ensemble member Bilal Dardai caught up to me as I ran, sobbing, to my car, and hugged me, and spoke words I will never forget:

“Mary. Mary, wait. Okay… Look, I don’t like your play. In fact, I really, really don’t like what you say in it. But I respect your right say it. And you’re really brave. I’m in your corner, even though I hate some of what you’ve got in that corner. It’s gonna be okay. They feel strongly about their politics. Just… Just shake it off. Your play… Is important. It’s important. I stand by it.”

And so he did stand by it. Even though he hated my politics, he protected my right to talk about them. Bilal knows how much his actions of protection and solidarity in the face of vehemently disagreeing with my views meant to me then and now; I have told him many times and in writing this, I tell him again, now, for all the world to see.

That is the story of “Donkey Punch” and now we speed through the years.

Chapter II

One of the things I liked about identifying as a libertarian — in fact, now that I consider it, probably the thing I liked about it — was that it seemed to announce to the world that I was a person who thinks for herself. I don’t vote straight ticket, thankyouverymuch. I look at the issues how I want to look at them. Just because I agree with you on Issue A, that does not imply, sir, that I agree with you on Issues B and C. Buzz off. I loved that being a libertarian was being a pain-in-the-you-know-what, being less easy to lump with the group.

My libertarianism was based also on an extremely rosy, Horatio Algerian view of the world, all bootstraps and elbow grease. Why shouldn’t it have been? My mother, after being heartbroken and abandoned by my father over and over again for 19 years, not only started her own business and put three girls through college but built a small empire with a needle and thread, forget bootstraps. At that time, having quit my job as a waitress, I was making a living as a freelance writer and stage performer. America was a great country. I had proof all around me that if you try hard and do the right thing, this country is your oyster. And so my thinking went for some years.

But, because I so pride myself on being a person who is always trying to read more and think harder, because I want to be the kind of soul who is always discovering and questioning, because I took a certain pride in being so independent I would even turn my back on my family’s Democratic political views if I had to, I kept right on reading and thinking, discovering and questioning; some years a little more, some years a little less. And so it was that about two years ago, I found that I was beginning to change my mind.

You know that feeling when you’ve been food poisoned and it just starts to come on? Those very first twangs and kicks in your stomach, that jet of sour that you suddenly find shooting along your jaw? That’s what it feels like when you realize you might have to change your mind about some of the political views you used to crow about. That’s how it felt to me, anyway. It was, and is, an intensely uncomfortable experience. Because political opinions are so loud, so self-righteous. They’re impassioned and final; they’re pristine, they’re endorsed by history, or culture, or God. Our political views are the megaphones of our values and our values are born from that which we love and that which we are afraid of and when you feel like what you love or what you were afraid of is changing, it’s embarrassing. Your pride is in grave danger and this just plain sucks. My sister Hannah and I were at each other throats many times about things I said or ways I felt about this or that issue and when I found myself questioning what I thought, oh, no. She was right, I was wrong. No one likes to lose an argument. And my sister could be so biting, so arrogant about things. I didn’t like it that she would eventually learn I had turned away from some of the things I held true and thus be smug and satisfied.

As I began to realize that some of the things I used to believe I no longer believed, I felt like I had been walking around with my skirt tucked into my pantyhose for five years straight and had just noticed that was not a great look for me. I felt stupid and, even worse, I felt like I had caused the family pain for nothing. Wait, no: The skirt in the pantyhose was worse. My family would get over it.

The beliefs I had about the world being an oyster for everyone, well, they weren’t based in reality. The wage gap, the color lines, the issue of being a woman instead of a man — these handicaps are real. Some of my beliefs weathered the storm, like my firm belief that politicians and billionaires are all corrupt and in bed with each other. But a lot of the things I ignored or argued against before? They had to go.

And now we come to the end of Chapter II and I must pull myself from the past and put you directly into the present with me and this is the hardest part, this moment, because I have been avoiding it for so long.

Chapter III

I have been living in another closet.

It was made by my own hands and I have kept the door shut tight because I’m terrified that what happened ten years ago with the Neos will happen again, that when I tell you how I feel, you’ll leave me. You’ll stop listening. You’ll forget Pendennis and plays about vacuums; you’ll not send any letters, now, and you’ll say, “Ugh! I knew it!” Worse — way worse than any of that, I’m afraid that I’ll cause more tiny cracks of division among regular folks in our troubled nation and the happy soil of the PaperGirl comments section will fester with typo-ridden political manifestos and back-and-forths between people arguing, Facebook-style, over all this. I can’t bear that. I’d rather shut it all down than see people “talk ugly” to each other, as my grandmother would say. My closet has been my protection against that possibility. And it worked for me, and for you, I suppose, for a long time.

But last night, as a sledgehammer came down and cracked the bedrock on which my country was built, so did my heart split in two. When I saw families that couldn’t get to each other because of Trump’s Muslim ban, when I saw the faces of every immigrant on the boats at Ellis Island being turned back by an anguished Statue of Liberty, rather than shelter them with her generous robe, instead bar the golden door of opportunity and send them away from freedom and back into tyranny; when I saw that, my friends, I wept tears so bitter, they burned. I’m coming out now, because the pain of living inside is worse than telling you: I loathe our president and I am committed to actively resisting him and his policies.

Don’t leave. Listen.

Again and again, I have stopped — literally stopped — my hands over this keyboard, halting my impulse to tell you how deeply I oppose Trump, both the man and the president. Countless times, I censored myself.  Because you don’t come to me for politics. Because I want this blog to be an oasis. Because what do I know. Because I have changed my mind before. Because maybe it will get better. Because if you disagree with me and never come around again, what will that accomplish? Who cares about my opinion, anyhow? I’m not an expert and I’m not a journalist. I’m a quilter. A student of writing and a person trying to figure out her life, just like you.

I didn’t say anything when he was on tape talking about grabbing women by their private parts, even though I felt like I couldn’t breathe for two days. Instead, I wrote a post about how wonderful women are. When it was coming to election time, I didn’t tell you who to vote for. I just told you to vote. When he was elected and I felt panic and shame, I wrote about quilt blocks. When he signed the order for the Mexico wall, I didn’t blog at all, didn’t tell you the horror I saw just ten days ago, at the Berlin Wall Memorial, how I just got back from seeing what happens when you wall people off from each other, how sick it is, how nothing good can come. I didn’t blog the day 250,000 people took over downtown Chicago to protest our president because I didn’t know how to tell you that I was one of those people. I marched with my friend K—, who has seen me weep and gnash my teeth over when, when it would get so bad that I would have to talk.

But I’ve been doing research on the AIDS quilt and an image kept coming to my mind. People who were dying and the friends and family of those people, as they marched for the FDA to approve drugs that would save lives, they held up signs that said “SILENCE = DEATH” because no one was talking about the disease that was killing hundreds of thousands of us. Then I watched a documentary about civil rights and the madness of our prison system and Martin Luther King was quoted at one point. He said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

That’s me. He was talking about me. I’ve been the silent friend. I have been complicit in that which I oppose because I have said nothing. I have a readership of thousands. I could speak up about what I see and what I believe and call out wrongdoing, abuses of power as I see them. But I haven’t, until now, partly because I’ve felt hopeless, that it won’t do anything, anyway, that we’re all just too entrenched in our beliefs and it’s too late. Mostly, though, I’ve stayed quiet because I was afraid. That’s over, now. Because this isn’t about me — it never is, not really.



Writing this is all I have done all day. I started it around 10 this morning. I have not been out of the house. I have not put on “real” clothes. I have had a low-grade headache all day and I have been crying, on and off, all day long. I made some spaghetti at one point, ate it. I took a restless, crappy nap around 3:30. I feel so weird, like this day was marked in the Big Book of Days for one thing and one thing only: this. It has taken everything out of me. I am scared to hit the “Publish” button and I know, looking at the clock, astonished that it is nearly 8:00 p.m., it’s time.

I don’t want a blue ribbon for this post. I’m not brave. If I were, I would’ve done this a long time ago. All I want is for you, each one of you, to know how much I love you. And how much I appreciate you reading the ol’ PG, day after day, year after year — because I need you. It’s not the writing I need; it’s you. I have my diary. I have my column. I have the book that I’m writing. I write articles for the school paper. I write emails. But this blog is special. It’s like nothing else that I write because you’re on the other end of it. I’m not alone because of you. I read all your comments. I love them. You are my friends. I love the Trump voters the same as the Hillary ones. Exactly the same. Just like Bilal loved me.

Bilal’s parents, by the way, they’re from Pakistan. That my true friend in my time of need was born to immigrants from the Middle East, this is not an unimportant detail.

PaperGirl will not become a political blog. I pledge to you to not “go off” about things unless I really think them through. I pledge to not get histrionic, or hysterical, or knee-jerk. Believe me, I feel like I walk around with the wrong information or not enough information about anything to talk to you about anything, so you won’t get tirades now, just because I’ve broken the seal. I won’t try to to change your mind about anything that you hold dear; you have exquisite reasons for the things you believe. But before I go, I will tell you one thing that I come by honestly, that you can see plain in my testimony and that I cannot leave you without saying, just this once:

It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to say you’re keeping your options open. It’s okay to say yes and then say no.

You don’t lose when you say, “I’ve been thinking. And I’ve changed my mind about a few things.”

I believe in you.


145 Responses

  1. Judy Juhl
    | Reply

    Thank you.

  2. Lenniesmom
    | Reply

    You are allowed to think as you think, feel as you feel, and speak as you wish. You absolutely get to change your mind. I have I take issues one at a time and research and learn and then decide. Then maybe more research comes and and leans is the other way. I, like Pendennis will not judge.

  3. Tracey
    | Reply

    Thank you. For sharing your views in such a way that is both eloquent and heart wrenching. I have not always agreed with our Presidents and their policies, but for the first time in my life I am truly scared for this country, and I despise this man that has been entrusted with the care of this great nation. I truly feel your pain. Once again, thank you.

  4. Li
    | Reply

    I, too, have trouble getting past the intolerance. You work hard. You have studied. In a world where soundbites sway the passions of the masses, thank you for writing with courage and conviction. You are still the same person you have always been. I admire you more than ever. I hope you inspire other to analyze more and not parrot propaganda from either side. I wish everyone could learn to respect everyone’s right to choose. Just because I think the way I do, I am not wrong. If everyone would take a moment to listen they might learn something.

    • Toni
      | Reply

      I agree with Tracey. I couldn’t have said what she said as perfectly. I have learned great respect for you, Mary Fons. Thank you. I am 70 years old and i, too, have changed my mind a few times on different issues that the Republicans or Democrats think are “their” issues. The fact is, these are all just humanity issues. I, too, think of the Berlin Wall when there is mention of the border wall. And, I, too, have family that I love deeply that totally disagree with me.
      1 Co 13:11 “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, to think as a child, to reason as a child; but now that I have become a man, I have done away with the traits of a child. ”
      This applies to women also.

  5. Sandra Cohron
    | Reply

    You are a wise and brave woman. Thank you for sharing this with those of us who not only agree with you, but are hurting and afraid.

  6. Becky
    | Reply


  7. Lisa
    | Reply

    To each his own, however, I am in agreement with the current administration. I did not feel safe in my own home in strict conservative Oklahoma with Obama allowing terrorists to rape and pillage and worse into our country. I wanted a gun for self protection. Had even been to a shooting range. But now I feel safe again. We can still be friends.

    • Amy
      | Reply

      Lisa, your willful ignorance breaks my heart.

      • Megan
        | Reply

        Your intolerance of her opinion breaks mine. Peace Lisa.

      • Judy Forkner
        | Reply

        I agree, Amy. I have relatives who live in Oklahoma & Texas (& my mother who lives near me, now), who all feel like Lisa. I cannot understand them & I rarely directly speak of politics with them, but when my mother keeps asking, “but what about the Muslims” I say, time after time that I have known many Muslims who are wonderful people> She keeps watching only Fox News & continues to be scared of those she doesn’t know. It’s SO sad!

    • Diana Foree
      | Reply

      Sorry Mary, but you didn’t understand what being a Libertarian really meant. My family has been Libertarian for over 35 years. I’m saddened by you obviously being pressured by your family and friends and the need to be accepted by the liberals who want the status quo. I will always enjoy your early years of quilting and sharing your talents and not your political views.

      • Mary
        | Reply

        Fair enough, Diana. Thank you, thank you for reading and staying for any part of me that can offer something. Truly.

      • Lynley
        | Reply

        If you’ve read her blog, you should know that she thinks for herself and is not so easily swayed by what others want her to do or think.

  8. Linda
    | Reply

    Well done my friend.

  9. Baa Goldfarb
    | Reply

    America is already great
    What makes it so is LOVE
    Not hate
    I love you Mary
    Stay courageous.
    Many Blessings,

  10. Dayna Williamson
    | Reply

    okay…I still love you and I haven’t left. Carry on….

  11. Amy
    | Reply

    Mary, as a former conservative, I feel you.

  12. Shari
    | Reply

    Bless you, Mary. You did good! ❤

  13. Kelly Ashton
    | Reply

    More later…..

  14. Kathy
    | Reply

    Thank you. Now is the time for us all to speak up. We cannot be silent and let this administration proceed unchecked. We must stay noisy!

  15. Britt
    | Reply

    As much as I disliked and was disgusted and horrified by Trump before he took office, somehow I never pictured how speedily he would prove my worst fears to be valid.

    If there ever was a time to get political on your blog I sincerely think it’s now. I appreciate you and this heartfelt post so much. I’m sorry it caused you so much angst to write it. I, for one, will continue to read all that you have to share.

    Please keep speaking up – whether on this blog or in the streets or to your elected representatives!

  16. Ruth Quinn
    | Reply

    I love you.
    Keep writing.
    Keep living.

  17. Dana Chapman
    | Reply

    Let’s just say it is possible to respectfully disagree and I do disagree with you. Thankfully in America we can respect and honor the right we have, each of us, to our own opinion.

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Dana, Dana, Dana. I love you for this. Thank you for reading. Thank you for not leaving.

  18. Rita Smith
    | Reply

    Thank you Mary. I feel the same way you do. I shed tears this week for our country and people. I loathe Donald Trump also and his “people.” I really think that those that voted for Trump are really good people and hopefully will open their eyes to the danger that is in America’s future with Trump.

  19. Marianne Greenley
    | Reply

    I am with you Mary. And I hear you. I feel the same. Remaining silent means you agree. I no longer can remain silent.

  20. Shermie
    | Reply

    I stand with you, Mary.
    I have never before in my life felt so strongly as now that I must stand up for our country’s democracy, Constitution and Bill of Rights. I have lived thru times of great turmoil , enough years that I won’t say (!), but now is just too threatening.

  21. Natalie
    | Reply

    Well, I’m not going anywhere. Your heartfelt article touched me like no other. You have a right to voice your opinion as you see it and changing your mind shows you have depth, strength and empathy. Keep on being you, a writer, an artist, a quilter….you’re good at all you do!

    • Mary
      | Reply

      To you and to all: PG readers are The Best Of People. On this, I shall never waiver! <-- this message has been endorsed by THE MONKEY

  22. Cindy
    | Reply

    Thank you for your courage in speaking for many of us who fear speaking at this incredibly difficult time. I come from a Republican family. As an adult, I identified with the Democratic party, in particular, as a result of working in health care. More recently, I have come to support leaders and positions of both parties depending on the issue.. However, with this election, I am disheartened by the rhetoric of many, citizens and leaders. The real question is do we love our country and respect one another enough to look beyond a political party. The President of this country has not demonstrated this love or respect. He is a delusional man and we must not delude ourselvesl into believing that he will change this country anymore than Obama could. It is up to each one of us to reach out, listen and love one another. There but the grace of God go I. Thank you, Mary, for this beautiful and brave post! Hugs! to you!

    • Mary9
      | Reply

      Well said Cindy

    • Anita Sharp
      | Reply


  23. Sheila
    | Reply

    Love you, Mary. It’s ok to read and think and evolve and come to decisions that you can live with. I fear for our country and this evil person we have turned it over to. We are stronger together, and must keep fighting and standing up to him. My daughters marched in StL and I was so proud of them. I was far away sick with a cold.
    This took a lot of courage to write, and I honor you for it.

  24. Mary9
    | Reply

    I’m with you. The past nine days have been even worse than I had feared! We can no longer stay quiet. I never once felt like this the past eight years. Hang in there ladies!

  25. Jody
    | Reply

    I will never not read your blog just because of this post. What a boring world it would be if we all thought the same! My husband and I are different political parties and get along just great! We have agreed to disagree on politics and NEVER get mad at the other when an opinion is voiced. Too bad rest of the country can’t do the same .

    • Jennifer Moore
      | Reply

      Jody, amen sister! Let’s put politics aside and just try and get along so we don’t destroy each other.

  26. Robin Gandy Harsh
    | Reply

    I’m sorry you’ve been so frightened to express your opinions. I’m sorry and ashamed of our society that you were mocked and bullied and sneered at for not having the same ideas as everyone around you. We’re supposed to be better than that. You’re a smart, creative, talented woman and that will always count more with me that who you voted for.

  27. Jennifer Moore
    | Reply

    Mary – just know that you are loved and there is still good in the world. Be the good!

  28. Bonnie
    | Reply

    Well let’s say first off I always assumed you to be a Dem, so nothing changes there. I actually voted for the other side. My only thought is this; yes, I’m nervous for us as a whole from either side. I’m keeping an open mind regarding issues doing my research as best as I can as the media does damage from both sides…. my pledge is to research, read as much as I can and give him a chance before waying in with things. Do I like him, right this minute… the jury is out and deliberating. I respect the office enough to keep an open mind right now. But I too could change my mind at any moment.

    • Mary
      | Reply

      You’re like, my ideal person.

  29. Jennifer Moore
    | Reply

    Also wanted to add that I purposely try to expose myself to different viewpoints on a daily basis. I do not want to be someone who only fills their brain with validating information. It is wise to seek out contrast and opposition in order to shape my perspective.

  30. Karen Morrell Johnson
    | Reply

    Well written, Mar! Not a chance that I would leave PaperGirl over an honest and gut wrenching post. Can’t get rid of me that easily.

    While I’ve always been liberal, I’ve become more so in the past years. I don’t always agree with my party, and I’ve lived through plenty of Republican presidents that I didn’t love, but I did accept. That’s what makes our country great. But I’m with you on being silent. I didn’t march on 3/21, and I’ve been sorry ever since. Today I drove past a city corner where hundreds of people had gathered for an impromptu march in protest of Trump’s immigration ban….I found myself waving and honking for the gathering, and then shocked myself by crying…..because I wasn’t standing with them. I realized I’m mad at myself for staying silent. I’ve never been one to discuss politics, ever. I’ve always felt it was a personal choice, much like religion or whether to prewash quilting fabrics. But since the election, and since the inauguration, I too feel I can no longer be silent. I need to find words and actions to help stop him.

    Thank you for helping me, Mary. Thank you!

  31. Erin
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. Honest conversations about evolving views are needed in today’s environment.

  32. Lisa E
    | Reply

    Here are the words that come to mind while reading your post: honesty, respect, tolerance. As long as your blog continues to demonstrate these traits, I will remain a loyal reader. Thanks!

  33. jenni grover prokopy
    | Reply

    a big hug to you, my new friend. respect. thank you.

  34. Frannie
    | Reply

    We could read about quilting just about anywhere, but we choose to read your writing, to hear your voice, and follow you because you have such a wonderful, unique quality. You very obviously have thought deeply about this, and I can’t imagine how vulnerable you might have been feeling as you published this for all of us to read. It takes guts and intelligence to learn, change, grow, and admit that your previous views don’t fit with who you are today rather than just do the same things. I’m grateful that you’re using your platform to speak out and that you, like so many more, are no longer silent. Thank you!

  35. Mary Lou Hutson
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts today. I grew up Republican but I felt that that party left me when it moved to the right in the 90s. I am now a Democrat and for the first time since high school, I was part of a demonstration today against the refugee/immigration order. I was in that crowd at SFO today and, like you, I feared “coming out” about it to my friends and family on FB, but I did it and I posted it. I didn’t have any poster board to make a sign, so I used a half yard of quilt fabric and wrote on it with a Sharpie: “#lovenothate Deuteronomy 10:19 that’s my executive order #Christianleft” I got a lot of likes and shares from some folks I did not expect to react positively; I’m sure some others have unfriended or blocked me now, but I don’t care. What he has done is immoral, illegal and unconstitutional and hinders our national security by playing into the narrative of the radical Islamic fundamentalists. I’m 54 and I have a hip replacement and I can march just fine now. Bravo to us. My post is public if you want to see it. Mary Lou Hutson, quilter from Abilene, TX and Oakland, CA.

  36. Cheryl
    | Reply

    Well, I’m Canadian and a left wing one at that! So not much you say you change my mind. I totally respect your honesty. I’ve seen the ugly in our industry come out as people push for us crafty ladies to keep our mouths shut and not comment on the world. To even go so far as to say there is no room for politics in quilting. Hah! Really?! What there is little of, it seems, is respect. So kudos for taking the stance today.

  37. Laura
    | Reply

    A brave post, but you are always putting yourself out there for us, revealing yourself so we may look inside our own selves and feel that spark, that recognition of the shared human experience.
    I’ve always been so namby-pamby, looking at both sides and unwilling to take a vocal stand on anything because I was often more conservative than those around me. But the world is changing, it’s getting smaller, and I’ve been exposed to so much more, and to so many more people of all kinds, and situations that have made me think. And I understand the fear on both sides of the issues. And I’m anxious and disgusted. So, anyway, you haven’t lost this reader.

  38. Suzanne Brown
    | Reply

    I left you two posts somewhere…couldn’t see where to comment on today’s wonderful post…Hugs!!

  39. Cathy
    | Reply

    Once again you show us all how brilliant, articulate and generous you are. I love it when you make me laugh but this is important.
    Sadly, at this moment some of my family members are so single-minded that we can’t even talk about serious matters. I have begun watching Fox News to try to understand what they believe. I am sure that ours is not the only family struggling at this time.
    Please keep writing. I’ll keep reading.

    • Jennifer Moore
      | Reply

      Cathy – love that you are trying to understand the people in your life, rather than just dismiss them. I see all these dust ups on Facebook and wonder, “Is it worth ruining relationships over?”

  40. Naomi
    | Reply

    Im glad you have said this Mary. I just never believed you to be afraid to come out to us. Im not an American Im Irish. Live in Ireland and we are afraid too. Appalled. Thank you. x

  41. Lauren
    | Reply

    As a Canadian I never understood the 2-party system; how can it be anything other than divisive? As a social scientist I gave up looking for a label for my politics. As an athiest it makes me uncomfortable to say, right now the most accurate, succinct descriptions of my views come from religious texts: love one another. Okay, Kurt Vonnegut said it too, but I hate being called ‘baby’ so that doesn’t count. In my humble observation plurality leads to tolerance, *if mindfully managed*, in many if not all things.

  42. Judith Taylor Inge
    | Reply

    I have a few heroes in the quilting world. Now you are one of them but for an entirely different reason.

    Thank you, and God bless.

  43. Marilyn
    | Reply

    Well written Mary! This sentence says it all for me and applies in most every country “Some of my beliefs weathered the storm, like my firm belief that politicians and billionaires are all corrupt and in bed with each other. “

  44. Connie Bartin
    | Reply

    Thank you Mary! The fear is real! This country is changing and not for the better. There has to be better ways to achieve what he wants to achieve, without alienating the entire world!

  45. Cindy Buchite
    | Reply

    Well said Mary. You are very brave and I admire your spirit. Keep writing and quilting too of course!

  46. Carol-the pencil lady
    | Reply

    Safe to say most of us probably understand how difficult this was for you to post,
    personally i believe Pendennis gave you the strength, courage to do so….
    Many times over this past year i have wondered how you kept from posting about
    these issues esp when Chicago would be mentioned in the middle of it but then
    reminded myself that you stayed clear of bringing politics into the mix…these,
    however, are different times and i do respect that this was a time for you speak
    out…many of us, as you can see, stand with you….peace out Mary.

  47. Marianne ten Kate
    | Reply

    As instructed, Friso (my dog) and I read your latest post, and with great interest. His political views are probably similar to mine, but you know, it’s never come up. We hunker down on the sofa to enjoy PaperGirl most days but today we lingered longer than usual. A well considered post deserves a well considered response. It troubles me that so many of us are so at ease in our echo chambers of social media that not only do we not hear opposing views, we fear them and discount them out of hand if we stumble upon them. That you felt afraid to express your views is sad and worrying. That you screwed your courage to the sticking place and did so is enormously heartening and encouraging. In politics, as in quilting, I like to know what works. A sloppy and variable quarter inch seam results in a misshapen and hard-to-handle block that won’t make a very pleasing quilt. It feels like policies are being hauled out of the scrap bag of political ideas and thrown together – and not even in a good crazy-quilt sort of a way – which has set alarm bells ringing that many of us now hear. Or maybe, we’re just acknowledging them at long last. At any rate, I hope all of us will acknowledge that we must be open to change and new ideas but that we must also dig deep into our understanding of ourselves so we make cohesive decisions on life, on politics or indeed quilting. I made my first improvised quilt not long ago after 40 years of a more traditional approach, and it was enormously liberating and I’ve started the next. Likewise, I’ve been asked to make a purple quilt and frankly, I’d rather eat my own head, but a purple quilt I shall make. You Mary, dug deep and gave of your best and I thank you for it. Never be afraid. Go Team PaperGirl!

  48. Barbara
    | Reply

    Hey, it took guts to write this and I thank you for doing it. It might help some people deal with their own feelings regret regarding this election. I believe it’s true that the folks who voted for Trump really got Steven Bannon as their President, and that’s a scary thing.

  49. Coley
    | Reply

    Bilal was actually born in Pakistan as well.

    I totally remember that play. I’m sad to hear that most of the cast wasn’t supportive of it just because you had different views. Breaks my heart, really.

  50. Diane Rincon
    | Reply

    Thank you, and you are brave, you are. You’re brave to grow and process life around you in different ways as time goes by. Things change in this world, and we need to be open to change, and to change our viewpoints. Write on, Mary. I’ll be here, reading the interesting and introspective things you have to say. Write on.

  51. Jean
    | Reply

    Mary, what a well written post. I loved and admired you before. You are bright, creative and talented in so many areas. On the day after the election I felt like I had been punched in the gut! Disbelieving that this really happened. I then tried to convince myself that ” I needed to be open minded, to give this administration a chance”. But the first 10 days have horrified me even more than I thought. I am standing with you, sister. I marched in Charlotte with my 3 daughters, (they expected 7500 and 25,000 came!) We cannot stand by and be silent. LIke the Trump supporter said several posts above this, I am frightened. Obviously we are blaming our fear on different things. But I am still fearful, afraid to hear the next news report. I have grandparents that fled Nai Germany, a great-uncle that died in Auschwitz. I have read the book “The Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D.Vance, in an effort to understand the reasons for the vote to swing the way it did. My mind is a swirl of emotions, hand wringing and nauseatingly so. So much so, that I have decided to take a 30 day sabbatical from FB and television. I have always enjoyed your posts and will continue to enjoy them, and we will all work to be heard, to create, to express ourselves the best way that we can. Sorry for the length of this post.

  52. gabby
    | Reply

    Mary – while I disagree with you on this subject (today anyway since, like you, I reserve the right to change my mind) I completely agree with you on many points in your post. It is so very sad that we have to walk around fearful of our fellow Americans that we cannot voice our opinions because we worry they are going to mock, pity, roll their eyes, throw stones, unfriend, block, ignore, and any number of other things. Unfortunately I’ve seen it here in this comment roll even though you so eloquently begged us all to love each other. I am going no where at all and will still read every one of your blog entries no matter what you write!! Even though we have never met I consider you a friend because you let me into those places of you that we let friends into. If I were there I would give you a hug, a nice warm drink, and some of those tissues that are so soft it was like wiping your nose with clouds and sunshine.

  53. Susan
    | Reply

    Mary, I awoke last night in panic, realizing that I had “outed” myself just yesterday in the very same way, almost exactly. I’ve remained mostly silent in a sea of supporters for this loathsome creature who is now our president. Mark Lipinski posted an article to FB just this morning that is a must read. It was profound. Read it, if you’ve not already. It helps shine a light. A glimmer of hope. The people are better than this. History will show that. Remain strong and in doing so, you strengthen others.

  54. Elita @ BusyNeedleQuilting
    | Reply

    First & foremost, you can always change your mind. You grow, you get more information, you adjust course when needed. That’s Life in a nutshell. You’ve done a good thing here with this post because as you say, people will only remember the silence of our friends. That cuts so much deeper than the abuse of our enemies. This post will encourage many to speak out and not stand by silently which, in turn, will give people the strength to stand together. It must be done if there is to have any hope for the future. Thank you for speaking out. Big hugs & a cuppa. xx

  55. tisha @ quiltytherapy
    | Reply

    You should not be ashamed of your views, how you feel at the core, and what is affecting your life. This is your blog and you should feel free to express concerns. It will impact your art and business decisions. Hubby and I recently watched CNN’s 80’s and they talked about the AIDS quilt in detail. Imagine the power of quilter’s today if we did something similar? Wanna start a quilter’s revolution? Not sure if I’m joking there or not.

    Your post is thoughtful and well written.

  56. Catherine
    | Reply

    I will always read your blog Mary or anything else you write. You are truly loved. You go girl!!!

  57. Claire
    | Reply

    Thanks for baring your heart. I have been a liberal since I first voted in the early 70’s. I wise nun told me that the best way to deal with a person who frightens you is to pray for him/her. I have been praying for the new President and I am still frightened for those people who are being shut out of our country. Keep writing your feelings, we love your brain and nothing will keep me from reading your posts.

  58. Gwen Frattick
    | Reply

    Long time reader. First time to comment. You could have been telling my story. Except EVERYONE around me is extremely conservative. Believe it or not I live in Illinois too. I have always been more liberal than conservative. I am definitely middle of the road. There are things in both parties that I like and dislike. Twenty years ago I was much more vocal about my political views. I was and still am a big Bill Clinton fan. Now I have a nine and an eleven year old that I don’t want to have their friends alienate them for their mother’s political views. They were very upset about the results of the election. I hated telling them when they woke up the next morning. There was a chant that the kids were saying at school that used the tune of the Cubs song. It really effected my 11 year old. Kids can be so mean. I am torn as to what I can do. We have got to stop being silent though. Trump has got to go. I just hope we can keep the damage to a minimum until midterms. I have no doubt that both the House and the Senate will go blue in 2 years.

  59. Sara Hochhauser
    | Reply

    Thank you Mary. I have enjoyed your blog and will enjoy it more now.

  60. Kelly Ashton
    | Reply

    Dearest Mary~
    First, you are brave, and I applaud you for being so!
    I am going to repost here two posts I made to Facebook in November, 2016.

    November 9, 2016:
    “To say that I awakened to a surprise / shock this morning is an understatement. The results were not what I expected. I have consciously and deliberately refrained from sharing my personal political views on social media, and that doesn’t change with this post. I love and care for many persons on both ends of the political spectrum and everywhere in between. I have my beliefs and my opinions, and I listen to views different from my own knowing that doing so may or may not sway my viewpoint, yet other ideas / philosophies always provide food for thought and new insights. I have laughed at memes from both sides on this very long, tedious journey because, well, a good laugh feels good.
    I will continue to love, and laugh, and live my life to the very best of my ability every day. I believe that everyone is worthy, valuable, and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity – not because of what they do or what they believe or what position they hold or don’t hold, or whether or not they agree with me, but simply because they exist. I continue to believe that love wins and kindness matters. I will do my best to live every day better than the day before and keep visualizing a world filled with wonderful diversity that is appreciated and applauded, not feared and scorned. Learning. Sharing. Growing. Evolving. Loving. Peace.”

    November 23, 2016:
    “On this Thanksgiving Eve, I’m reflecting on all the goodness that I experience in my life and in the world. Of course, there are challenges and disappointments and cruelties in life. Yet, I truly believe – and it has been my experience – that there is SO much more good than bad; SO much more kindness than cruelty, SO much more love than hate. There is SO much more that we have in common than we have differences!
    We EACH have a choice with every step forward: to take each step in the spirit of loving kindness, trust, unity, and goodwill OR to step forward in the spirit of vengeance, fear, division, and doubt. I choose love, kindness, trust, unity, and goodwill. How about you?”

    I do not particularly like labels (like “Democrat”, “Republican”, “Libertarian”, etc, etc) because we are each unique (thankfully) and labels lead to assumptions about an individual that, I believe, are more likely to be false than true. And, actions really do speak louder than words. So, my life affiliation (my “party”?) is “Freedom and Justice FOR ALL” . And, I will fight like hell for freedom, liberty, justice, fairness, love, and kindness. May my actions corroborate my words!

    Love you!

  61. Anita Brayton
    | Reply

    Dear Mary, I read your blog and only your blog. I thought it was going to be about quilting. I am throughly delighted that it isn’t always about quilts. I have felt you were confiding in me as only close friend can speak to each other. You are one brave, tough monkey. If I see you at QuiltCon don’t be shocked if I give you a big hug for being brave enough to say what you say and you’re not mean when you say it.

  62. Sherry
    | Reply

    Mary, thank you! Wouldn’t it be grand for more thought ( and agony) to go into voters’ decisions? There are moments in life when belief tweaks are necessary and to ignore that is dishonest. My awareness attack happened decades ago when I left the politics of my upbringing. It was painful, but I never looked back. Authenticity is beautiful. xoxo

  63. Ruth Quinn
    | Reply

    You can be againstTrump and still be a Republican.
    You can be againstTrump and still be a Conservative.
    You can be againstTrump and still be a Libertarian.
    You can be againstTrump and still be in any political group.

    • MrsB
      | Reply


  64. Debra Lee
    | Reply

    Keep thinking.
    Keep writing.
    Keep quilting.

    I have had thoughts about the Berlin wall, the Great Wall of China, the Mexican wall, the Northern Cyprus/Cyprus “wall” and the “wall” between North and South Korea. None of the walls have solved anything – just created division and heartache for people on opposite sides. I do not understand why we continue to do this to ourselves. History could serve as a great lesson; unfortunately, we never seem to learn.

    I will always read your blog!

  65. Annie
    | Reply

    I wish we could focus less on the labels of party affiliation and just be sentient beings. And that’s what I count on in Paper Girl – you are sensitive, articulate, introspective and yes, brave, with your eyes and heart wide open! You inspire me to be the same.

  66. Candy Langert
    | Reply

    This has been my journey too. I have always leaned more conservatively but found things I liked in both the blues and the reds. I also tended to vote Libertarian. But with this latest executive order I know the world has shifted and we must oppose the president . We are in for some scary times. We need to be strong for each other. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  67. Linda
    | Reply

    Thank you for your honesty. It, along with your articulate writing, made this post a pleasure to read. Your play sounds brilliant and true. I wish I had seen it. Is is unfortunate that the creative people you worked with focused on your politics and not your art.

    Someone once said that the labels we assign ourselves always lag who we truly are. We grow, we change, else what is living for?

    As a blogger in a non-political field, you are in a difficult position. I hope this post eases your way. Remember that quilts and politics have never been separate; there are many 19th century political quilts. Splitting ourselves into compartments is artificial. You are you.

  68. QuiltyKate
    | Reply

    Thank you, Mary. Beautifully written. I admire your sharing and your thoughtfulness. Peace and love to you!

  69. Sharon Murphy
    | Reply

    Obama issued a Muslim ban in 2011 for the safety of Americans. . No one remembers that? Where was the hair pulling, bleeding hearts then? The seven country ban issued now is for 120 days. Learn the facts before spouting off how horrible a family member can’t come home for 120 days. The Americans that got beheaded can never come home.

  70. Gina
    | Reply

    Congratulations to all the PG readers who have posted so far…….so much respect for each other, regardless of viewpoint. It is such a relief to see this after all the facebook rants and diatribes.
    Mary, write on…….

  71. Laura G
    | Reply

    Mary, we are both adults, and as such I will continue to read your blog. I must however caution you. You must know the media is completely left-owned. Be careful where you get your information. For example, iIt is not a “muslim ban”, the 10 most Muslim countries in the world are NOT included in this, just the most dangerous terrorist places. It is also TEMPORARY, until we get mechanisms in place to thoroughly figure out WHO we are letting in, and who we should not. I understand you live in chicago, and are surrounded with leftist views, but I do caution you to listen to the FACTS!

    • Jan C.
      | Reply

      Thank you for your post.

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Laura, thank you so much for reading. I do want to let you know that I am being very intentional about getting news from a lot of different sources right now. I think part of this whole “thing” we’re dealing with is understanding how media and government work, or don’t work, together. I am committed to really being a conscious reader of the news and making sure I keep popping any media bubble I find myself floating around in. Ew, that sounded gross! 🙂 Thank you, and everyone here, for being so classy and fabulous in the comments section. #winwin

  72. Janice
    | Reply

    Mary, thank you for your courage and honesty. Your thoughts are eloquent and well written. . I agree with you on so many points. I don’t understand when those that talk about tolerance, turn out to be the exact opposite. It’s something I’m experiencing myself these days Keep writing and sharing. Be true to yourself.

  73. Britiney
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing your heart and your feelings, Mary. This is such a hard time. It’s hard to find hope. I’m so desperate to talk all of these issues through with someone, especially someone who is on the other side of the issues. But I think my fear of what will happen to our country is matched only by my fear of losing my friends or the social repercussions if people find out I’m not “on their side.” I’m so sad that there seems to be no room for opposing sides to dialogue without hate. I’m overcome with anxiety about the state of our country but feel helpless to speak out in my “red state” “religious right” “evangelical Christian” environment. You are brave. Thanks for helping me think I maybe can be too. {{Hugs}}

  74. Celia Swain
    | Reply

    Well spoken! Love it, now let’s get back to that quilt!!

  75. Janet Moore
    | Reply

    Oh, Miss Mary Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Your courage and your honesty are so very important and so very appreciated.

    I have been so very frustrated trying to find someone, anyone, to talk with about these issues only to be faced with “My opinion is the only one that matters and yours is a waste of time!” – from all sides, yet. How can we heal and move forward if we can’t even sit down and talk about what is happening and why?

    Sending you hugs and standing right beside you.

  76. Elizabeth A Benedict
    | Reply

    You have so spoken my heart and I am glad to see it in print. Will you keep writing so eloquently? The best to you.

  77. Johanna
    | Reply

    Dear Mary,
    I have read your post and it warmed my heart. The anguish you feel about the political situation truly spoke to me, because you chose your words so emotionally I almost cried. You are so wise and obviously brave. I can only imagine how it must have felt for you to actually give your dislike for the US president a name. I was overwhelmed. As a German, I am facing an election as important as the election in the USA. To be honest, I am afraid. I am more on the liberal site, am argueing day after day with people that share the opinions of Trump and our German equivalents. The AfD scares me, makes me want to vomit each time I hear Höcke’s loathful quotes on the Berlin Holocaust memorial.
    Enough of that, I am on the verge of tears again, but: I thank you for your wise words. I have gained power to oppose everything I have to object to. Thank you, Mary, tank you so much!

  78. Pamela Keown
    | Reply

    Eight years ago I was a Democrat. Truthfully I leaned independent and I was researching the libertarians. But I supported Hillary. I would not admit this to my friends and family as I am now admitting to you. I voted for her in the primary against Mr. Obama. But a one-term, no-name senator became president. I wondered who was the puppet-master pulling his strings. And slowly over the next eight years I became more appalled at everything the president did. I gradually turned to the Republican point of view. And as my “man-in-the-race” did not make it through the primary I stayed loyal to the new party I had adopted.

    I came to you through quilting as you became your mom’s side-kick on my beloved Quilting with Fons & Porter. I was a big fan of Liz Porter and really missed her when she left. I love your Paper Girl blog. I loved the way when every nasty negative political thing was splashed across the media your blog was a haven of peace and positive attitudes with your post about how wonderful women are. I loved how your blog did not hit me over the head with your political views you just said vote. And I loved how your blog focused on the reason I found you–quilt blocks.

    I disagree with Dr. King at least in my confused, conflicted mind–I do remember every hateful arrogant word of my enemies. Yes it has taken eight years but I have been thinking and I have changed my mind. Until the Democrats learn tolerance–until the Liberals practice the tolerance they bash over the head of every conservative they know–I will remain Republican.

    And I will remain loyal to you and your blog.
    I remain–your fan.

  79. Lynda
    | Reply

    I guess you would say that I am still in the closet. I am appalled at the divisions created in our country during the past election. I worry for my children and their children as it appears that no one is safe from the hate that seems to have sprung up everywhere. I blame social media for spreading this hate and the creation of “fake news” – I have people that I love dearly that truly believe everything that they see and read on the internet. When did we stop thinking for ourselves and when did we become so bitter that we want to spread the hatred? I choose to remain silent on my facebook feed so that I do not offend anyone. I choose not to share my thoughts with those I love so as not to offend. Only with a stranger can I express my disdain with our President and the people he is choosing to surround himself with and the fear I feel for our Country and its people. What will we be in four years?

  80. Loretta
    | Reply

    I was raised in a Republican household in Oklahoma, one of the reddest states in the Union. I now live in Texas which is almost as red but does have a few blue counties. I moved to the left gradually when i started noticing that the democratic candidates seemed to care for people more than their republican counterparts. I do not understand a government that does not care for people.
    I started reading your blog because I am a quilter. I enjoy seeing you on Love of Quilting and have found your blog an entertaining mix of Quilting stories and all kinds of interesting information. I will continue reading your blog for the same reasons but now, also, because of your convictions. Keep it up and let us know in what ways you are resisting what is happening in our country.

  81. Jess @ Quilty Habit
    | Reply

    Hi Mary, I read your blog often but don’t always comment (I’m terrible – I should comment – I blog myself! Bad Jess!). I just want you to know that we all have your back. It’s important to stand up for what you believe in during these dark times. People have told me “oh, that’s enough of you protesters” or “just get over it” but there’s no “getting over it.” I made a quilt for the Women’s March on DC and all the comments were respectful (though some dissented) – and I worried about posting it too. Anyway, just wanted to say that you rock and I’m really looking forward to hearing your lecture at QuiltCon next month!

  82. Elizabeth Sonnenfeld
    | Reply

    Dear Mary,
    I am an immigrant….. not from the “7 chosen” countries. But never the less I came to the US at the age of 18 as a political refugee, penniless and stateless. My birth country took away my citizenship because I was a Jew….
    I know what discrimination is about.
    I am so proud of you Mary because you were brave enough to admit that maybe you were wrong. I have always liked you and meeting you in RI and in NYC last year had been a highlight of my quilting life.
    i am your mother’s age and I am so proud of you!

  83. MrsB
    | Reply

    Lord it took forever to get to the bottom to leave a comment. Girl, you are living in my head. I live in red state. I’ve been a Republican for 40 years. No more. The Orange Humonculus did me in. I’ve called myself a libertarian / small l for many years. I guess I am an independent now. BUT I’ve been loathe to talk about this election with people/family that voted GOP. Scared of what they would say, or turn away from a friendship. BUT no more….I’ve been respectful and will probably lose some friends.
    And my ultra-liberal BFF is sad that I said I could not longer talk her off the cliffs. I’m exhausted by all this.

    I am angry that my wonderful country is so torn. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on religion and politics, but they don’t want to hear mine. I felt your pain reading this. I’m glad you wrote it. You’re one a making young woman.

    Bet you most folks feel the same.
    Now, I’ll go back and read the zillion comments.

    Huzzahs Mary!

    • MrsB
      | Reply

      That’s supposed to be amazing young woman.

  84. linda schiffer
    | Reply

    you have every right to hold the political opinions you do! That is the entire point of this country.

    I tend to be an idealist and to be somewhat rosey in my outlook … and I loathe Trump. Have for years (long before the current situation). Sadly, his current behaviour is exactly what I mentally predicted from his past performance. I do not understand where his supporters are ‘coming from’.

    ON the other hand, they have a right to their opinons. He does not have a right to ruin the American I believe in , however. Standing up and speaking out time ahs come to this member of the silent citizenry.

    🙂 Linda

  85. Michael
    | Reply

    Mary Fons, you rock! Thank you for paper girl, those Quilty videos I always turn to for smiles & tips, & most of all for you being you. Like a long distance pen pal I can turn to and always find your writing relatable. Hugs

  86. Diane Harris
    | Reply

    I applaud your courage.

  87. Nina
    | Reply

    Thank you for your open, honestly written words. I want to hope this administration will be highly successful as long as our country’s core values are upheld and defended for our citizens. . Why, because if is successful it will be good for all of us and for our future. But, I experienced Vietnam and lol of the discord and unrest during that time period and have wondered, morehan once, “What will it take for our citizens to become passionate about the injustices and issues currently facing all of us to stand up and speak?” The people hold the power to insure justice and liberty for all but only if we embrace the true role of citizens. I absolutely do not support violence, bullying, or complete dismissal of others but do support open, honest communication and working collaboratively for true change. Thank you for stepping out and demonstrating how one accomplishes this challenge.

  88. Sherry K.
    | Reply

    A poem for our dear PaperGirl from a longtime reader:
    Mary, oh Mary
    Being honest with yourself can be oh so scary
    But letting it out can bring major relief
    Even if it causes others to beef.
    We all are adults here
    We can disagree
    And even do it civilly
    I admired you before and even more so now
    You’re brave and courageous so take a big bow
    Don’t ever apologize for continuing to grow
    I’m here for the long haul, so keep sharing what you know
    And if you ever need to talk things out
    I live in the neighborhood, just give me a shout!

  89. Cynthia
    | Reply

    Celebrate that you 1) didn’t follow the group-think, 2) exercised your brain, and 3) were willing to share.
    Thank you for being an example to others.
    Sometimes the tree of freedom and/or friendship (or company, or group) needs pruning to thrive.
    “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall

  90. Neame
    | Reply

    Once again, Mary, you have won the blue ribbon, hit the jackpot, nailed it. I love your post. Not because it leans this way or that politically, but because within it is a lesson for us all: no finger pointing, no yelling, use your inside voice, say your reasons, use ‘I’ not ‘You”. As others have said, we are all entitled to our own thoughts, feelings, opinions, and voice. That is one of the many reason America is already great. You use it, you don’t abuse it. You are brave to speak up about politics in this climate.

    As for your politics, I’m glad you have changed your mind on some things. For me, I lead with my heart. If someone hurts, is abused, in need, hungry, sad, in pain, or in danger, I come down on the side of things that reaches out a helping hand. And like you I cannot believe the entity now occupying the white house is our elected representative of the United States of America to the rest of the world. I cringe, my stomach turns, I fear for our present and our future. I fear for our Armed Forces. I fear for us. I fear hate rules the day. This entity does not represent me.


  91. Lori Fontaine
    | Reply

    Mary, thank you for this.
    Watching the protest marches on TV, I was cheering–I also said, OUT LOUD in my house with only my cats to hear, as I saw the crowds of Chicago, “Hope yer marchin’ Mary!!!” (We marched with you in Spirit in Canada too!)
    Before politics, fear and opinions envelope everything we do, we must first look into each other’s eyes as PEOPLE. We must hold onto one another with defiant chins in the air. No matter how strong the winds of hatred and intolerance are, love always triumph. Love trumps Trump and all he stands for.

  92. Amy L
    | Reply

    I’m with you, Paper Girlfriend!

  93. […] it turns out, when you expend a colossal amount of energy getting honest in the public square, sewing is all you want to do then, […]

  94. Linda
    | Reply

    I have never turned away from anyone because of how they vote or how they pray. Respecting another person’s choices is the most important part of ones own self respect.

  95. Pat Hicks
    | Reply

    Mary, I didn’t read the 29th’s blog until today. I have been tearing up through your blog and reading all the responses. Thank you Mary for stating what you have been going through, and the fear about speaking up. I felt like you read my heart as you wrote your blog. The fear to speak up has gripped me until today. My heart is broken seeing and hearing about families being torn apart. Even where I quilt people whisper to each other when they feel they can discuss an issue without being attacked.
    I have never seen anything like it. Love you for your bravery and I truly feel like we are all supporting each other, in spite of our individual thoughts. All I can say is thank you Mary for Paper Girl and you are a friend to us all by letting us in.
    Love, and keep on writing.

  96. Laurie Hatfield
    | Reply

    I applaud you on your bravery-I have lost family members & people I once considered “friends,” after coming out as a lesbian some 30+ years ago. But to be true to yourself is the most important value/trait one can carry within oneself, for of we are not true to ourselves, how can we be true to others?
    The recent protests remind me of the words of Martin Niemoller:
    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    I believe that the intent of the administration is to categorize us/label us/separate us/wall us off….when in fact what is happening is we are banding together as one. The pendulum must swing to its greatest height before it can begin to settle back towards the middle.
    Just wait, friend…good things come to us if we are patient…and just be thankful you are articulate, intelligent, talented, and, resourceful, and that you are surrounded by loving and admiring PG readers (and Pendennis, of course!)

    Sending you hugs-welcome to an indescribable feeling of renewed freedom…it is refreshing (and scary…but that goes away). Congratulations on coming out 😉

  97. Laurie Hatfield
    | Reply

    One last thing, as I just re-read my post, & (I guess this is why you are the blogger & I’m the reader) it wasn’t nearly as clear in word as it was in my sleepy brain. The fact that so many tens of thousands of people are coming together and protesting and not staying silent, so that change will happen. We must wait…be active while we wait…And good will come. I must believe that.
    Thanks, Mary…thanks for being true to you.

  98. Judy Forkner
    | Reply

    Thanks Mary–it is not a time to be silent! I marched in Denver & will go to my 2nd rally in Denver tomorrow to try to get our Republican Senator to listen to our views. He claims that his email is being dominated by “paid protesters from other states”. He is so wrong. I will write my zip code on my sign! I went through the Vietnam War supporting the protesters, but not taking part because of all the violence & the fact that we had our 1st child in 1969 & those protests got so violent that it was really scary! Now I’m scared to death by the things the “Twittiot in chief” is doing to our country, & have no choice but to become a political activist at the age of 70. I made my pink pussy hat tonight & I fear it will get LOTS of use in the coming years.

  99. Godofredo Gervalski
    | Reply

    Mary. It’s Jeff Gervais. I remember somehow talking to you in 2008 when Obama was elected. I was ecstatic, and you weren’t. While I raised my eyebrow then, the president I loved was little more than an emblem who I liked. He was a pair of Vans with DNA and great ideas. But like shoes, he wore out. Weird analogy. Slept like shit last night.

    I’ll say this, your little paper girl thing here is the only “blog” (that’s what it’s called right) that I read routinely. I read it because your introspection shows human thoughts and quirks better than most anything else I can think of. I’m not much for quilts or scarves, but when they’re written about in the same manner that you describe this political spectrum of varied beliefs every human should consider, it’s great reading.

  100. Kathy K.
    | Reply

    I’m so proud of you for speaking up. I have been to the Statue of Liberty many times, and I do believe she must have tears streaming down her face today. God help us all! Stay strong and remember we are all entitled to our opinions. Hold on because we are in for the ride of our lives, but we will get through it, if we, as Americans, stand or march together.

  101. Alida
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your story. I am sorry that you had to live intolerant behaviours, bullying and fear. It is not human to receive that, no matter which side of the political spectrum it comes from. I know how it feels to be in fear because I am an immigrant… I have the right religion (right, for now), I have the right skin color (right, for now), I come from the right country (right, for now), I have the right gender (at least if I just talk about make up) but I couldn’t express my vote. I respect the system, so that’s fine, but I go to work every day for the American people, to support terribly sick people and give my contribution to maybe one day discover a cure for the worst illnesses. And the American people send me a message that I am unwelcome, useless and unwanted. It is hard to keep doing my job… but then I go to work and I see real people suffering and I don’t care if they voted for him or not: I will give them my decades of education, experience and hard work until they decide I am disposable. But until then, I will keep fighting for them too, because there is hope for humanity, we have seen it happening in the worst times of history: as long as some humans maintain some of their humanity and spread love instead of hate and fear, there is hope. Hugs!!

  102. Matty
    | Reply

    I love you and this post and your constant evolution.

  103. Bland McPherson
    | Reply

    You are enough. You are loved. I will continue to read.

  104. Linda Duff
    | Reply

    Miss Mary …. Kudos for being brave and open … Everyone has a right to her (or his) opinion … and we know we won’t always agree with everyone, but that’s what makes us be ‘us’ …. so sad to think that people are no longer friends after this crazy election (and all the came with it) because someone voted for XXX and not ZZZ. Strange, you’re friends before the election and you’re each that same person after the election .. laughter, tears and good times shared, and now someone chooses to no longer be a friend with their friend? Such a sad loss.
    You won’t lose me as a PG reader … you’re hilarious, honest, you speak to our hearts, we travel vicariously through you, we cheer you on and share your sadness, and I’ll read until you retire! (you’re young .. you have a LONG way to go…)
    Looking forward to seeing/reading your next post! You always keep us guessing!
    Stop in to visit when you’re back in Winterset … .. ..

  105. Karen
    | Reply

    Still reading! Thank you for putting a voice to what so many of us are feeling, and with such care. I’m fine with everyone having their opinions and beliefs until they become harmful to others. That is what we are facing now. Regardless of who anyone voted for, the current state of affairs is causing harm every which way and that cannot be denied any longer. So often we have to shine a light directly into the shadows to truly face them. I want to share with you and your readers my favorite poem, by Mary Oliver. It’s brought me hope on many occasions.

    The Uses Of Sorrow
    (In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

    Someone I loved once gave me
    a box full of darkness.

    It took me years to understand
    that this, too, was a gift.

  106. Cathi Nelson
    | Reply

    I have always enjoyed watching you. I’ve always seen something of a brave person in you. What you have written is extremely important. I too have posted something’s in the past few days that I feared would upset some of my family and friends. But we must go on. We must resist because if we don’t who will. I have always though the whole Trump dog and pony show had something that was not right. Some of my early fears about this man have emerged. there are too many things he says and his interactions will some foreign leaders that are to coincidental. Someone who admires dictators must be a little off. I keep thinking why aren’t our leaders in congress seeing this and doing something? Of course I felt that way through the entire election.. Your post has strengthen my resolve to not be afraid to say what I think. There is a post I was going to repost about impeaching Trump. But I thought, it’s only been eight days. Is it too early. No it’s not. This last week has felt like a month. Thank you for you courage. And now I’m going to go repost the petition to start impeachment proceedings.

  107. Sue S
    | Reply

    I stand with you. I have been feeling exactly the same, and could not have said it better.

  108. Faith
    | Reply

    I have been suffering in silence barely able to check social media or listen to the news. Finishing things. Hoping I didn’t sew too much of my sadness into my stitches. I grew up overseas as a Navy dependent & saw firsthand the living conditions of other children the same age as me. I don’t like conflict, but I know sometimes it is necessary & can lead to a better outcome than just accepting the status quo & not bringing the discontent to the surface. I hope the current period of “reality show” politics is short-lived & I thank you for your brave, honest & respectful article. You have helped me immensely.

  109. rmsreid
    | Reply

    Oh Mary. I giggled a little as I finished reading the very end, from the moment I started reading your blog I assumed you held many liberal opinions. So as far as I was concerned, you confirmed something I already “knew” – there was no closet. I was surprised to know you previously held very conservative opinions and I am appalled and so sorry you had such a traumatic experience with your troupe. I will keep reading as long as you keep quilting. I’d listen to your podcast, too, if F&W weren’t such hardliners. I selfishly wish I’d had the funds to contribute to a legal defense to fight the “Cease & Desist”. I digress. I agree with one of your commenters above – I’m keeping an open mind regarding many issues. I supported neither option for President last November but am hopeful for what Trump could accomplish. I’ve gotten such a civics lesson this week while doing my research as best as I can. I want to always have an informed, well-researched, thoughtful opinion on any political topic and remain staunchly independent. I did not participate in any marches or protests recently but I’m glad to have served in the military to protect citizens’ rights to do so. (I’ve always loved the quote – I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.) I’m also a quilter <40 & we started quilting about the same time – I will happily continue to follow your journey. We'll see you in Dallas in June!

  110. Robin FK
    | Reply

    “Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.” (Amelia Earhart)
    Thought of this as soon as I finished reading your post.
    Bravo Mary!

  111. Allison
    | Reply

    My respect for you, for being transparent, for sharing something which is obviously so painful and embarrassing and personal, is IMMENSE. I want to stand in the same room with you. Until then, digital hugs, and a poem, from Ms Liberty…. as a reminder to your commenters.

    The New Colossus

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)

  112. Diana
    | Reply

    Thanks, Mary! Thank you for expressing your views in such a way so as not to make people who don’t hold your same political views feel terrible. Because I gotta tell you for the sake of some of my friendships on fb I had to unfollow a few people 1) because they made me feel terrible 2) because I saw a side of some people I didn’t know existed 3) because I was afraid I would get frustrated enough to reply in some way that would end our friendship. And no politician or political view is worth that. I love your writing. I don’t care who you voted for or what party you side with. I respect your right to make that choice. ❤

  113. Delissa Crellin
    | Reply

    Bravo, well done, I hope you feel at peace now. It was beautifully written. I am in Australia and I hate Trump also, I am scared for the entire world now because of the changes he will make.

    I have missed Quilty and only came across this blog from a link in on Blossom Heart Quilts, so yu now have a new follower.

    Well done Mary

  114. Pepper Cory
    | Reply


  115. Beverly Letsche
    | Reply

    I understand, Mary. I truly do. When GWB was president, I, a lifetime Republican, changed my affiliation to Democrat. Not because I agreed with everything the Democrats had to say, but because I could not back a party that so completely backed a president who took us to a war for which there was no justification, causing untold death, destruction and pain. Even then I was not as appalled as I am now. Never have I been as afraid of someone and once again the political machine is falling into line. My hope is that those who have the courage to stand up and speak will be able to turn things around.

    Thank you for being brave enough to speak up.

  116. Ruth
    | Reply

    While I have hoped that my “sewing” groups would remain non-political, it is not to be (here and elsewhere). I, too, am one who generally keeps my opinion to myself, but I have recently found my voice, which I hope to speak calmly and quietly. Two things –
    One—Hearing follow-up of recent tragedies (namely the Boston bombing and an attack in Florida), when I learned that in both cases the perpetrator had been under investigation but had been cleared, my thought was “I wish they could come up with an enhanced investigation process so folks like this didn’t slip through the crack—clearly they were ‘on the radar’, what more could have been asked to find the truth?” I see the current temporary suspension as an opportunity to assess the process, to identify areas of improvement, then proceed with an enhanced toolbox. I liken it to my working days–I worked in an aircraft maintenance/logistics organization for over 30 years; when we saw a recurring system/item failure, we’d implement a stand-down (stop flying) so that we could find the problem, come up with a fix, and begin the operation again.
    Two—there seems to be a great intolerance of “free speech” particularly when the speech is of a differing opinion (my most recent reference is the riots, fires, vandalism at Berkeley in opposition to a conservative speaker {I know, I’m behind on my blog reading}). This has helped me find my voice.

  117. David
    | Reply

    Why would we get angry with you for being just as human as anyone else? A lot of people are conflicted with the late unpleasantness, and your honesty about that internal conflict is very much appreciated. Write on!

  118. Gina Strong
    | Reply

    I stand by you too…..

  119. Anita Sharp
    | Reply

    I truly appreciate your post. I spent years feeling the same way. I was taught that your name means something, and I honestly couldn’t put my name behind any of the political parties, so for the past 25 years I have been a Decline to State voter, which is an interesting experience. I was raised in a conservative family, and I’m a Mormon, so not agreeing with the Republican viewpoint was shocking. But I just….Couldn’t. Nor could I align with the Democratic viewpoint. Nor Green, Libertarian or Tea Party. I felt as if I was adrift on an ice floe, as there just weren’t people out there like me. When I spoke up at church about loving and not judging Gay people, you could hear a pin drop. When I spoke up during family gatherings about Women’s Rights, the looks of censure were painful, but I couldn’t not listen to conversation and not share my thoughts. It was painful, but necessary, if I wanted to face myself in the mirror each day.
    So, I thank you. Thank you for putting yourself out there. Thank you for standing up for something. Thank you for your courage and honesty. Our country needs more of that.
    Blessings to you!

  120. Glenda Hoagland
    | Reply

    There is a lot I could say, but the most important words that come to me right now are Thank You.

  121. Caroline Parr
    | Reply

    You may have said you are not brave, but you ARE. One thing I appreciate about my quilt guild is enjoying members whose politics are entirely opposite from mine, it’s good for all of us to see how we can connect outside of our political stands. Thank you for speaking out! (from a true blue Dem!)

  122. Valerie
    | Reply

    I’m so with rmsreid ^^^^^^^^. I assumed your political views were liberal. I also did not support either presidential candidate but I do have hope (surprisingly!) in SOME of Trump’s policies. I intend to judge them policy by policy. You’ll never hear me defend him as a human being as things stand nor will I support some of his policies.

    So, I was not surprised to read your views. My surprise was only in that you were once a libertarian.

    The value in your journey is that you’ve faced first-hand the prejudice of one side. Conservatives often complain of the irony of intolerant treatment from the “tolerant” left. Neither side holds a monopoly on arrogance, obstinance or ad hominem attacks.
    I do so appreciate the way you’ve handled this topic. I’m exhausted from my extremist friends/family (mostly conservatives). I have unfollowed ig folks for shoving their politics in my face. Thank you for your thoughtful treatment of the topic. Others experiences and opinions are so valuable. I want to keep learning all of my days. To see others journeys.

    So, thanks for sharing. I’ll be spending some of today catching up on your blog. I have 2 months worth to read. Lucky me!! The other part of the day will be spent adjusting formals for my gals, catching up on schoolwork (homeschoolers here) and working on a CA king cathedral window quilt using clothes from a child who passed away far too young. I know I am blessed.

  123. […] won’t soon forget it. We talked politics and it was so good. I rarely ever broach the topic, as you know, but from time to time, the mood is right, and so it was last night. The three of us talked about […]

  124. Colleen Morsett
    | Reply

    I admire you greatly, Mary, and I am so proud of you!

  125. […] offered by the government, companies like Humana, or anyone/anything right now. Even if I did, I wouldn’t do it here. And I know — I am 100 percent certain — my beautiful readers are way too classy to spiral into […]

  126. […] The first time I directly discussed politics. (144) […]

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