The most recent political flap involves Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; it has come to light that in the course of the latest presidential campaign he made a racially insensitive remark regarding President Obama.

Reid has already apologized to the President, who has accepted the apology and expressed his desire to close the book on the episode. Similarly, his fellow Democrats, the Congressional Black Caucus, and many other liberal politicians and political bodies have come out in support of Reid.

On the other side of the political aisle, politicians are not at all eager to close the book on the issue. Citing the calls for the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in 2002 after he too made a racially insensitive remark, they now accuse the Democrats of a double standard.

Who's in the right here? I'd like to introduce some Torah-based arguments in support of all the opinions involved—and then I'll ask you to decide.

Reid Should Stay on the Job

The Torah exhorts us to "love our fellow as ourselves." The Torah is not only quantifying how great the love for our fellow must be – as much as we love ourselves – but is also explaining the nature of this love. We are all aware of our personal deficiencies and flaws, yet we continue to deeply care for and love ourselves. This because we don't define ourselves based on our mistakes; we look at the larger picture, we also see our many redeeming values. It is in this same light that we must also see our fellows and their shortcomings. We mustn't define them by their weaknesses, but by their strengths.

Harry Reid has an exemplary record in civil rights issues. Let us not hastily dismiss him based on one indiscretion. Let's remember that no person is perfect—even our greatest leaders made mistakes.

And he's apologized.

Reid Must Go!

His apology may have been sincere, and perhaps he's an altogether good guy, but actions must carry consequences. Once a person sincerely regrets a crime, he may be reaccepted by society and G‑d—but the courts are still duty-bound to enforce the appropriate penalty. And no one gets off paying a speeding ticket by claiming that they observe the speed limit 99% of the time.

This is all the more true with regards to leaders, who are held to a higher standard. Moses can certainly attest to this: despite his monumental accomplishments, he was barred from leading the nation into the Land of Israel due to a relatively minor error in judgment on his part, when he struck a rock rather than speaking to it as he was instructed to do.

We forgive you Harry, but someone else has to lead the Senate.

They're All a Bunch of Hypocrites!

Both the conservatives and liberals are completely unqualified to give an opinion with any objectivity or legitimacy—because of their respective hate and love for Reid. Only one consideration – the aggrandizement of their party and platform – lies at the core of any opinion they express on the matter.

Here's what Maimonides writes with regards to a judge who harbors a bias (Laws of Courts 23:6):

"It is forbidden for a judge to adjudicate a case if one of the parties is a friend, even if he's not a very close friend, or if he dislikes one of the parties, even if he's not an enemy who wishes him evil. Rather, both the disputants should be equal in the judges' eyes and hearts."

I'm not sure what should happen with Reid; but I've sure had enough of hearing all these self-righteous opinioneers!

You're Right, and so is He

Biases aside, both sides do bring legitimate points to the discussion table (as explained above). There are times when we can overlook a fault, and there are times when we cannot. Instead of shouting matches, we should be having real discussion about the merits of the arguments, recognizing that there are many different ways to view any given subject, and then perhaps the final decision should be made by a (relatively) impartial body empowered to adjudicate such issues.

What do you think?