Not only that, a lot of Americans are asking the same question Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst asked last night, "Where is America's leadership?" The first day of the RNC answered that question and extended a simple two-part message: America's leadership will be found in strength and unity.
Mindful of the tragedies we've faced and the fellow countrymen we have lost, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas succinctly laid out the problem we face, saying that "[O]ur city on a hill is now a city under siege." In addition to the slaughter of five police officers in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge, McCaul noted, "We've all witnessed the recent attacks in Nice, Paris, Brussels and Istanbul. But now we are in the crosshairs. Our own cities have become the battleground. Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and Orlando."
In short, America is under attack and in desperate need of leadership. Fortunately, leadership was in ample supply last night.
Take the speech of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
. Despite being an unabashed staunch ally of police officers, Giuliani took the opportunity to praise the heroism of our men in blue and also to acknowledge the fears and concerns of the African-American community. He sympathetically stated, "We also reach out with understanding and compassion to those who have lost loved ones because of police shootings unjustified and justified."
And then in perhaps the most applauded line of the night, he rallied the audience, not by encouraging division as some on the left have alleged, but by asking -- in a reference back to President Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention when he was an Illinois senator,, "What happened to 'there's no white America, there's no black America, there's just America
Speakers echoed the unity theme once more from the stage when Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke
eloquently stated, "In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote passionately about 'the interrelatedness of all communities and states' and about our 'inescapable network of mutuality, tying us in a single garment of destiny.'"
The theme of unity amid pain and sorrow also included messages of strength from those who have fought against terror. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton called for "a commander in chief who speaks of winning wars and not merely ending wars, calls the enemy by its name, and draws red lines carefully, but enforces them ruthlessly." Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama, stated in no uncertain terms, "Let me be clear -- coddling and displays of empathy toward terrorists is not a strategy for defeating these murderers as Obama and Hillary Clinton would like us to believe."
The unity and strength on display shaped the overwhelmingly positive vision of what makes us all Americans proffered by valiant heroes (and everyday Americans) like Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell and Benghazi survivors Mark Geist and Mark Teigen. Luttrell, who lost three of his Navy Seal brothers in combat in Afghanistan, threw out the teleprompter, opting instead to speak from the heart. He described the American way like this: "The only way survive this is together, not apart. In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter. ... Who among you will love something more than you love yourself? Who among you are going to step up and take the fight to the enemy ... because it's here. I challenge all of you to fight for this country and each and every one of us."
With this diverse cast of voices, the first night of the RNC posited an uplifting view of the American conscience combined with a call for unity, strength and leadership. It offered inspiration and solutions for the future in the candidacy of Donald Trump.