It started with political chat and ended up with abusive messages, calls for boycotts and an online civil war between liberals and conservatives. A familiar story, perhaps - only this time it happened in the world of quilting.Ok, "Conservative with a Common Interest" is a secret Facebook group, so if they want to mock liberals in a closed forum that's their business, right? But then this:
The traditional American hobby has - like knitting, baking and other skills - been given a new lease of life by social media, through Reddit discussions, online commerce and the ease of spreading tips and knowledge via digital videos.
But in recent weeks, online communities and bloggers have been discussing a series of screenshots which appear to show socially conservative quilters organising campaigns and hurling insults about other enthusiasts who don't share their political beliefs.
Members organised a drive to send complaints to an exhibition which had put out a call for quilts protesting against the Trump presidency. They contacted the sponsors of one liberal quilter to suggest that she should be dropped because of her opposition to Trump.Quilting has long been a political art in America, as projects like the AIDS quilt or the anti-Trump quilt show, but really. Trying to get the IRS after liberal quilters?
They sent homophobic messages to gay artists and contacted quilting trade shows, asking organisers to cancel classes run by quilters they thought were too liberal.
And they suggested boycotting certain quilters, or reporting them to the IRS - the American tax authorities - so that they would be tied up in tax investigations. Targets were chosen because of their support for things like Planned Parenthood and and women's rights, among other liberal causes.
But I was pleased to read that after quilting blogger Eric Suszynski exposed this group, the most common response he got was,
Let's not talk about it, let's move past it. Let's ignore this problem and get back to quilting.
That story boggled my mind.
I am a quilter. I am moderately liberall, as are a number of my quilting friends.
One of my closest friends, the one who dragged me kicking and screaming into quilting in the first place, has what I consider to be abhorrent political views-- but I love her for other reasons.
Probably 2/3 of the quilters in my quilt guild (and in the other guild to which I used to belong as well) are distinctly right of center. Some wear little pins that represent baby feet as an anti-abortion statement. Others work the polls for some really regressive candidates/incumbents. But politics is not part of our guild meetings, our workshops, our quilt camp and quilt retreat (I deliberately scheduled last year's retreat in October rather than right around the election).
I cannot imagine any of the quilters I know (several hundred) encouraging doxing, outing, or the sorts of harassment described in this article.
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