Taking a Shot at Loyalty

This piece was published in The Satirist on November 18, 2019

Taking a Shot at Loyalty

By Martin H. Levinson

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and he wouldn’t lose any voters. While that statement may not have been completely accurate—e.g., if the person Trump shot was one of his followers and that person died he would not be able to vote for Trump—the declaration sounds basically right to me, as the president’s supporters just love the Donald. (The smart money says that love will be manifested next year when the US Senate acquits the president of impeachment charges brought by the House of Representatives.) Anyway, what’s the big deal if a president shoots someone on Fifth Avenue?

Fifth Avenue is a very busy thoroughfare that is typically packed with well-heeled people who, rather than pay their fair share of taxes to keep our country going, spend their time dashing in and out of trendy stores buying expensive things they don’t need. You’d think Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders aficionados wouldn’t mind if a few of those one-percenters were knocked off by a righteous American president. And most New Yorkers know it’s extremely difficult to walk up and down Fifth Avenue with all the folks on the sidewalk there. If the president shot one or two of them it would probably discourage pedestrian traffic on Fifth Avenue, which would make it easier for individuals who don’t scare all that easy to perambulate along Fifth.

If the president shoots someone on Fifth Avenue, should he be prosecuted for it? I certainly don’t think so and neither does William Consovoy, a Trump attorney, who argued in federal court that a president should not have to defend himself before local authorities for any crimes he commits while in office. Hey, if local authorities were allowed to prosecute a sitting president then district attorneys in places where a president was unpopular might have him arraigned for all kinds of stupid stuff like jaywalking, littering, or creating a public nuisance for asking his supporters to rough up hecklers during campaign speeches. Do we really want a president to have to sit behind bars for things like crossing against the light, tossing a piece of paper on the floor, or requesting that his followers beat the crap out of those who should know better than to express their opinions when no one wants to hear them?

Some people say the president shouldn’t be above the law and if he commits a crime he should be punished for it. These people are clearly unbalanced. If everyone who committed a crime was prosecuted for their offenses more than half the folks in this nation would be rotting in a jail cell. And it’s a recognized norm in American society that people with money and influence get special treatment from the criminal justice system. The law may be blind but judges tend to be clear-eyed about what they have to do to remain on the bench.

But guess what, the whole idea of holding Trump accountable if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue has become moot, as Trump has recently changed his primary residence to Florida. This means if Trump is thinking of shooting someone it will most likely be done in the Sunshine State, where people shoot people all the time and no one cares about it. “Stand your ground” laws actually encourage such behavior.

If the president wants to show the world how loyal his supporters are, rather than saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters, he should say he could do the same if he came out for gun control. I don’t think his think his base, who worship the ground Trump’s bone spurs walk on, would desert him if he did that. They’ve got lots of guns already to make liberal heads explode and those without guns can rely on FOX-TV to do the job. Alternatively, he could say that he could sell the country to Russia, tell Southern lawmakers not to restrict black voting rights, argue against the death penalty, and say education is a good thing, and he still wouldn’t lose any voters. Well, maybe not the last one.

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