TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona Sen. Martha McSally is fundraising after calling CNN reporter Manu Raju, “a political hack.”
The reporter was asking if she would hear evidence in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the U.S. Senate.
She’s selling tee shirts, asking for donations and making the rounds of Fox News shows touting the name calling. Some shirts bear the phrase “You’re a liberal hack, buddy.”
Others, however, see it as another step towards a coarsening of political discourse.
“Politics has become so much more uncivil that virtually any other aspect of our lives,” Tom Volgy, a 46-year political veteran in Tucson and a former elected official, said. “I believe the incivility that’s occurring in politics is so much above and beyond anything that’s occurring in all other parts of our social life that it makes it really unique.”
That will likely be echoed by Andy Zuniga, the owner of the Fourth Avenue Barbershop.
"I try not to talk politics because it's a good way to lose customers," Zuniga said.
Zuniga has been cutting hair for 20 years and said he thinks today’s political climate “this is the worst it’s ever been.”
He said he tries to keep up on both sides of the issues so if a customer insists on talking politics he can split the middle.
"Yeah, I do," he said with a laugh.
If he can't move the customer towards sports, he might have to talk a little politics.
But it's precarious.
“I’ve lost customers because of something I said,” he said. “They’ll never come back again.”
So, the choice of words is especially important because he's in the business of customer service.
“You can say the magic word and all of a sudden you’ll find somebody being very passionate about their beliefs,” he said. “Sometimes you open a can of worms.”
Volgy believes the solution to the civility, or in this case the incivility problem, lies in the hands of the citizens and not the politicians, even though they are the high profile offenders.
“As long as we can say to politicians, you can’t behave this way anymore because we will not reward you with our votes at the ballot box,” he said. “Then I think life is going to change.”