On Wednesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) gave a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives in which she referred to the notion of a southern border wall as "sinful."
I join the similar calls made by my colleagues today, and I demand that the president end his temper tantrums and quest for a racist and sinful big wall. And I demand that he work with us to reopen the government before any more damage is done. Enough is enough. The American people deserve better.
Omar calling a southern border wall "sinful" appears to be an evolution of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) repeated statement that such a wall would be "immoral."
In early December, Pelosi said the following during a press conference:
... most of us, speaking for myself, consider the wall immoral, ineffective, expensive, and the president said he promised it. He also promised Mexico would pay for it. So, even if they did, it's immoral still. ... We have a responsibility, all of us, to secure our borders – north, south, and coming in by plane ... and that's a responsibility we honor, but we do so by honoring our values as well.
What’s interesting about both Omar and Pelosi’s statements is that they never explain how a southern border wall is "immoral" or "sinful."
Merriam-Webster defines the word "moral" as: "of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior." It further defines the word "right" as: "being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper." Lastly, it defines "sin" as: "an offense against religious or moral law," or "an action that is felt to be highly reprehensible."
These definitions are important because they allow one to better understand what Omar and Pelosi are really saying. Pelosi claims that a wall is "immoral," which apparently means that it is not in accordance with what is just, good, or proper. Omar claims that a wall in "sinful," which means that it is an offense against some moral law.
But what is "just" and what is "moral" in this very specific context? A wall would prevent individuals and groups from entering the United States without the express permission of the government. How is such a thing unjust? It would neither prevent legal immigration, nor keep asylum seekers from accessing legal points of entry.
Given this, what is "immoral" and "sinful" in the minds of Pelosi and Omar can be only one thing — the prevention of unfettered access to the United States by anyone who wants to enter.
However, members of the Democratic Party cannot simply demand that the United States adopt an open borders policy. Despite fringe progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gaining ground among elected Democratic lawmakers, to admit that one adheres to such a philosophy regarding immigration would likely agitate and alienate a large portion of the Democratic base — not to mention independent voters — thus jeopardizing future elections.
This precarious position in which many Democrats have found themselves requires a healthy dose of reassuring but vague policy proposals, like "increased technology" and "more advanced infrastructure." These hollow promises can pacify voters, but only as long as the Democrats can keep up appearances. Such vagary needs a sufficiently distracting enemy. In this case, Democratic lawmakers have made the border wall into the enemy, and have opened rhetorical fire on its proponents.
The pejoratives and histrionics must be continuously ratcheted up lest voters become glassy-eyed, turn to scrutinize progressive policy proposals, and find the man behind the curtain. So at first, the wall was pointless, then it was a waste of money, then it was cruel, then it was immoral, now it’s sinful. What comes next is anyone’s guess — but it will change.
The Democrats will do everything they can to keep the curtain shut.