That's what voters in Oregon's first congressional district have to consider, in the race between Democrat David Wu and Republican Goli Ameri.
Last week, the Oregonian published an story exposing Wu's attempted rape of a girlfriend 28 years ago, as a Stanford student. He immediately issued a statement admitting he was wrong, apologizing, and said that the incident "changed his life." (Here's the account from the New York Times.)
Ameri, a woman, has seized the issue, saying, "I cannot stand here and pretend that violating the most fundamental human right, a woman's safety, is merely a wrongdoing...In the most civilized nation on earth, we need to have a higher standard for our leaders."
Interestingly, more the 350 readers called or wrote the Oregonian, criticizing its decision to publish the story 3 weeks before the election. "We all made mistakes when we were in college," said one.
I am glad I don't have to vote in that election. To have to decide between Wu, reportedly the first Chinese American to serve in Congress, a Democrat who opposes the Patriot Act and Bush's tax cuts, or Ameri, a woman Republican of color (that rare and very weird breed) who supported all of that, and more.
I'm not sure I could vote for someone who tried to rape a woman. One account (an admittedly questionable account) described Wu as covered with scratches, his t-shirt stretched after the incident, and said he had held a pillow over the victim's face.
"But it was 28 years ago!" the devil on my other shoulder argues. Everyone deserves forgiveness.
And maybe, as it is in my relationship, what's important is what's to come.