We had planned a weekend camp-out with our Airstream group, a “boon-docking” experience at the Murrin Ranch near Fort Worth. But heavy rains and muddy roads led to the event’s postponement, resulting in a quick change of plans. We managed to find an open site at Cedar Hill State Park, and, despite warnings of chiggers and Argentine ants, we reserved our spot and commenced with what turned out to be a glorious fall weekend. Followers of this blog will know that, at one time, Cedar Hill State Park was our go-to weekend destination. But a flood in 2015 closed most areas of the park, causing us to relocate to Loyd Park on the other side of Joe Pool Lake. Although some improvements have been made, many of the park’s roads are in disrepair, several sites are no longer accessible because of erosion along the shoreline, and the once-bustling marina is permanently closed. Still, the park provides unobstructed views of the lake thanks to its hilly terrain. And most campsites, though small, are in good shape.
Friday’s cold, damp weather was ideal for snuggling inside our cozy camper, partaking in a Date Night dinner of grilled steak and veggies, and watching a couple episodes of “Fleabag” on Amazon Prime Video. No chiggers or ants in sight (at least not in our site).
The next day found us enjoying sunny skies, warm temperatures, and mild breezes over the lake. During our late-afternoon walk, we met some fellow Airstreamers camped just up the road from us. Our lengthy conversation eventually led to a tour of our remodeled rig (it’s unusual to have a combo washer/dryer in an Airstream so everyone wants to see how we managed to fit it in). We ended the day with cocktails at sunset, dinner at the campfire, and a late-night walk beneath starlit skies.
Sunday morning brought news of a mass shooting at an off-campus party near Texas A&M – Commerce, about 60 miles northeast of Dallas, and of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi near Idlib province in Syria, about 6,800 miles east of Dallas. Watching President Trump announce al-Baghdadi’s death and then take questions from reporters was…interesting. Even the most ardent Trump supporter would have to admit that the president managed to make it all about himself. One particular response was illustrative:
You know, if you read my book, there was a book just before the World Trade Center came down. And I don’t get any credit for this but that’s OK. I never do. But here we are. I wrote a book, a really very successful book and in that book about a year before the World Trade Center was blown up, I said there is somebody named Osama bin Laden, you better kill him or take him out, something to that effect, he’s big trouble. Now, I wasn’t in government. I was building buildings and doing what I did but I always found it fascinating. But I saw this man, tall, handsome, very charismatic making horrible statements about wanting to destroy our country. And I’m writing a book. I think I wrote 12 books. All did very well. And I’m writing a book, World Trade Center had not come down. I think it was about, if you check it was a year before the World Trade Center came down. And nobody heard of al-Baghdadi. And no one heard of Osama bin Laden until really the World Trade Center. But about a year, a year and a half before the World Trade Center, before the book came out, I was talking about Osama bin Laden, you have to kill him, you have to take him out. Nobody listened to me. And to this day I get people coming up to me and they said you know what, one of the most amazing things I’ve seen about you is that you predicted that Osama bin Laden had to be killed before he knocked down the World Trade Center. It’s true. Most of the press doesn’t want to write that but it is true. If you go back and look at my book, I think it’s ‘The America We Deserve.’ I made a prediction — let’s put it this way, if they would have listened to me, a lot of things would have been different.”
It should be noted that Trump made just one passing reference to bin Laden in 304 pages:
One day we’re all assured that Iraq is under control, the U.N. inspectors have done their work, everything’s fine, not to worry. The next day the bombing begins. One day we’re told that a shadowy figure with no fixed address named Osama bin Laden is public enemy number one, and U.S. jet fighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan. He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later it’s on to a new enemy and new crisis. Dealing with many different countries at once may require many different strategies. But there isn’t any excuse for the haphazard nature of our foreign policy. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every new conflict.”
This fleeting mention of Bin Laden, published in January 2000, wasn’t exactly ahead of its time.
The Qaeda leader had for years been linked to numerous terrorist plots and was regarded as one of the most wanted terrorists in the world. A year before Trump wrote The America We Deserve, American officials had already expressed concern that Bin Laden would plan an attack against the United States. Yet had we only listened to Trump, a lot of things would have been different.
In California, more than 90,000 people have been evacuated from their homes because of raging wildfires. More than 2.7 million people are expected to lose electric power as Pacific Gas and Electric imposes blackouts in an effort to prevent sparking additional fires. Not a word of concern from the White House. Nothing about the latest mass shooting in Texas, either. Only hyperbole and self-promotion.
It appears, then, that Trump has given us the America we deserve.