Forget semantics, let’s just get it done

Politics used to be described as the art of compromise. Apparently it has degenerated into a game of semantics.

It appears one politically important question involved in whether President Donald Trump gets the $5.7 billion he wants for more physical barriers along our border with Mexico is what to call them.

“We’ve consistently said that we do not support a medieval border wall from sea to shining sea,” insisted U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., this week. “However,” he added, “we are able to support fencing where it makes sense, but it should be done in an evidence-based fashion.”

On the other side of the political fence, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., bowed to that demand. “It could be barrier. It doesn’t have to be a wall,” he told reporters.

Trump himself began, during his campaign for president, by describing his plan as one for a wall. He continues to use that word sometimes, while agreeing that a barrier made of metal slats would serve the purpose.

House of Representatives Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said a wall would be “immoral.” Never mind that in the past, she has voted in favor of funding for walls along the border.

So what will negotiators from Congress and the White House be discussing this week? A wall? A fence? Some other form of barrier?

Who cares? Call it a screen, a partition, a restriction or a barricade, for all most Americans care.

The more time politicians in Washington waste over trying to find just the right word to use — purely for public relations purposes — the more thoughtful Americans begin to wonder if someone constructed a bulwark around Washington to keep common sense from immigrating there.