On Tish'a b'Av, we theoretically all mourn the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. What we are really mourning is the lack of respect among Jews, that led to the destruction of our physical contact with HaShem. "בית חרב החרבתי" says HaShem- it was already destroyed when he allowed it to be burnt physically.
A wise taxi driver once pointed out that there is no point in davening for the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash as long as groups of Jews will not daven there with other groups of Jews. And he is right. Here in my own neighbourhood, there are shuls that will not allow a man with "the wrong headgear" to be the Shaliah Tzibbur. There is a hessed organization which was started as a separate entity, rather than joining forces with the one that already existed, because they will not allow certain people of certain political leanings to be on their board. Not surprisingly, there is no local body of rabbanim comprised of all the local rabbanim, because some will not consider the others to be rabbanim.
On the other hand, there are some who model respect for others, even when thy disagree. This past week, in one of those parsha-sheet SMS shu"t, Rav Aviner was asked how one should relate to the "rabbanim" of Beit Hillel (a group of rabbanim who feel that it is imperative to teach the lenient sides of halacha). Rav Aviner's answer was : take the word rabbanim out of quotation marks. They are real rabbanim, even if we don't follow their psak. In fact, Rav Aviner, who is extremely stringent in most every area of halacha, is a member of Rabbanei Tzohar - an organization of Rabbanim who can match the Sanhedrin Of Old for differences of opinion, AND for willingness to respect each other and work together.
I don't believe that unity equals uniformity. 12 Tribes of Israel are all supposed to have their own customs and their own ways of life. 120 members of Knesset HaGedola do not all agree on psak, and only when the Sanhedrin fully passes a psak, is that TRULY Da'at Torah that one may not swerve from it to the right or the left (even if they are "wrong"). But the Sahedrin did not give psak on how long sleeves must be or what colour kipa one may wear. In fact, there is not even consensus on how long after shekiya is Shabbat out - which could technically mean that according to one opinion, what the other is doing is punishable by Karet. And yet, for that other person, with his other Rav and Psak, it is not assur at all. The Sanhedrin did not have to give final answers on many issues, because they obviously felt that is okay for different Jews to do different things, as long as they are doing it in the name of HaShem.
And so I try to imagine, now that the fast of Tish'a B'av is behind us, and we all hope to mark next Tish'a b'Av as a holiday, a situation in which everyoen simply shows RESPECT for the other opinions. (Yes, I know that I have to work on this one, too. Do you want me to pretend that I am perfect , telling everyone ELSE what to correct???) To paraphrase my friend GG on the issue of hair covering, if we can respect that whatever anyone is doing is a tremendous effort, we can support instead of criticizing.
And in the spirit of the next fast (we hope) being Yom Kippur, isn't that how we want HaShem to judge US? that we are really really doing our best? That wherever we are lenient with ourselves, it is with the sanction of a lenient halachic opinion, because that is where we are.
My dream is to be part of the Respect Revolution - in which we all go out of our way in order to show respect for other (individual and groups of) Jews: judging them l'kaf zechut, showing respect for their symbols and values, teaching our children to talk respectfully to and about those with whom they do not agree, appreciating their areas of integrity and self-sacrifice, showing our teeth in a smile to one and all.
Which takes us to Tu b'Av - a day in which a man chooses a wife who si wearing borrowed clothing. What she is wearing does NOT tell you her political opinions or which city she is from. The hareidi girl is wearing a long "street sweeper" skirt and the modern girl is wearing sleeves to her wrist and a closed collar. What matters is what is inside. When we can ignore the "uniforms" and look at what is inside the person, tehn we can mark the happiest day of the year.