If you watched last week's virtual Democratic convention, you heard about an America with which you might not be familiar. Speaker after speaker portrayed America as a failing nation full of misery, poverty and angst that only they can make better.

On his radio program last week, Rush Limbaugh reminded listeners what the fight for the future of America is about. He played an excerpt from Donald Trump's inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2017:

"The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land."

Trump brought back those who had been struggling under the slow-growth Obama-Biden administration. Had it not been for the virus, which is being dealt with (more about that in a moment), Trump would be way ahead in the polls thanks to record employment across all demographics. And still the economy is making a comeback. Check the rising stock market, which has hit record highs. That is good news for retirees with mutual funds and other investment accounts.

Contrast Trump's address with the gloom and doom projected by Biden and his supporters in his professionally produced speech last Thursday night:

"Here and now I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I'll be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It's time for us -- for we, the people -- to come together. And make no mistake. United we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America."

Cliches. Bromides. Meaningless.

When he was vice president, Biden and President Obama had a chance to get out in front of the pandemic, which they now blame on Trump. Instead, they did nothing to replenish the stockpile of masks and other needed protective equipment.

As a USA Today story put it: "... according to NIH, the stockpile's resources were also used during hurricanes Alex, Irene, Isaac and Sandy. Flooding in 2010 in North Dakota also called for stockpile funds to be deployed. The 2014 outbreaks of the Ebola virus and botulism, as well as the 2016 outbreak of the Zika virus, continued to significantly tax the stockpile with no serious effort from the Obama administration to replenish the fund." (emphasis mine)

They can't say they weren't warned. On Nov. 1, 2005, President George W. Bush delivered a speech at the National Institutes of Health: "Scientists and doctors cannot tell us where or when the next pandemic will strike or how severe it'll be, but most agree: At some point, we are likely to face another pandemic."

While this week's Republican National Convention can -- and should -- counter the anti-Trump claims by Democrats, the event should mostly focus on optimism. The country the Democrats describe is not the real America. We've come through far greater challenges in the past because of the optimism and tenacity of our citizens.

Give some of these RNC speeches in front of people instead of the people-less and uninspiring empty rooms used by the Democrats. It will make the evenings come alive with enthusiastic applause. Feature minorities who found jobs under the Trump administration. Highlight children and their parents who are benefitting from school choice. Invite a survivor of abortion to say how her life has meaning and a woman who regrets having had an abortion and endorses the work of pregnancy help centers -- something Planned Parenthood hates.

Ronald Reagan used to say America's best days were ahead. Republicans should say if the Biden/Harris/Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez gang assumes power, they will transform America into the darkness they now falsely claim envelops us. If they win, their pessimistic rhetoric will become all too real.

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Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com. Look for Cal Thomas’ new book “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan).

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