Tisha B’Av and the Nasty Republican Civil War

Join or Die (Donkey Hotey / Flickr / CC)
Join or Die (Donkey Hotey / Flickr / CC)

Sunday is the Jewish observance of Tisha B’Av, commemorating the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem — first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., then by the Romans in 70 A.D., both on the same day. Jews observe the day through fasting and rituals of mourning.

The sadness of the day is compounded by the knowledge of what caused it. According to tradition, the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the ancient Jewish republic, was caused by “sin’at hiram,” or “groundless hatred.”

The rivalry among different political and religious factions was such that each hoarded food from the other in the besieged city, rather than uniting for the common defense.

There is the same spirit of self-destructive pettiness in America today, and particularly among Republicans, who not only continue to fight over the Trump candidacy but who are also pledging post-election retribution. One need only spend five minutes on social media to see us trashing each other — viciously, personally.

It is difficult, at this point, to say who started it. What you believe probably depends on whom you support. One thing is quite certain: our leaders made it worse.

Probably the low point was Mitt Romney’s blistering attack on Donald Trump in March, at a point when Trump had already built what was an insurmountable delegate lead. Trump certainly stoked the fight as well, but given the opportunity to rise above it all, Ted Cruz stabbed the nominee in the back at the convention.

It is up to us to stop this.

There are, to be sure, serious policy debates within the Republican party — on trade, foreign policy, immigration and other issues. There are also real political battles between K Street and Main Street. But the personal attacks, between people who agree 99% of the time, are unnecessary and self-destructive.

I have reached out privately to several people with whom I have clashed. Others prefer to stoke grudges.

To them I say: we only have today left to fix tomorrow. Stop, before it is too late.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.