Did you know that working moms who don't watch Fox are socialists? Neither did I.

But then I asked some folks on Twitter, who were beating up on a friend of mine who is a left of center lady, not unlike myself, and was on Fox this morning (the national cable version, not the local), if they could link to the clip about which they were razzing my friend, since, being a working parent, I don't watch the morning news shows because, well, I'm working - and parenting. (I know - many of us have the television or radio on in the background while parenting and working but that is not the norm in my home at all - way too distracting; I can parent & work at the same time, but add cable morning news shows to the task list and I'm on overload.)

And their response to my simple and, if I might say so myself, civil request (intended to allow me to make an actual judgement on the razzing they were giving my friend which included them saying that the way she said the word "privilege" regarding Ann Romney was in a perjorative way) was to tell me that, for saying I was working, parenting and not watching Fox, I spoke like a "true Socialist." Later tweets included mentions of their belief that I envy male anatomy and some other things that have nothing to do with anything, except to demonstrate perfectly how the motherlode of all linkbait is the often-called always-maligned Mommy Wars.

If ever there was a subject in need of being limited to civil discourse-only, this has got to be it.  To refresh, for those who've managed to miss this story in the last 24 hour news cycle, Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post does a good job recapping this most recent Mommy War flare-up. It was brought on by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen while she was trying to make the point on a talking head show earlier this week that Ann Romney is not a standard-bearer working mom to whom her husband and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney should be looking if he wants to understand the average American woman's life experience in 2012.

But someone within the Romney camp was so annoyed with how Rosen said what she said (which was not artful and was disparagingly incomplete, I shall give them that), that they actually started a twitter account for @AnnDRomney. And away she and @HilaryR went at each other, with plenty of folks chiming in. I missed the entire thing because I seriously was battling the flu and work and parenting (the flu getting far more attention than anything else) and it wasn't until I was in the car listening to the news on my way to taking a kid to school yesterday morning that I heard all this stuff about the Mommy Wars and I facepalmed a huge, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? as in - OMG - this is soooo not current.

But, sigh - this debate, an honest, true, real, debate - not war - is in fact an important, relevant evergreen subject that very very sadly gets manipulated for evil ends over and over and over.  Thank goodness more and more people do write about how we must not get sucked into it.  Conservative Matt Lewis was clear and specific about this throughout his tweets yesterday and his column, 7 Reasons to Reject Rosengate, details his thinking. (And Matt, if you're reading - and I'm sending you a link to this so I hope you are, you are almost always - I can't think of a time when you haven't been - an extremely civil discourser, thank you).

Not only have I written about this debate in a variety of venues over several years, I've spoken about it publicly and I've lived the damn battle within my own life. It's almost impossible to avoid. But that only makes the topic even more of a scapegoat and at the same time something to run away from when you see people trying to use it to get leverage on an issue.

The main rule for engaging in this debate is really very simple and very basic and will come as no surprise to Civic Commons devoteés: Don't leave home without your civil discourse hat on.  Just do not leave home without it.

And if you can remember, amongst all the other hats you may wear, try to remember to bring a few extra of those hats because you know you're going to need them when it comes to, cue grave music, The Mommy Wars.

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Copyright © 2012 Jill Miller Zimon; available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

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