This was originally an amiable, substantive, and constructive discussion on Facebook on 4-28-20, with two female critics of President Trump (words in green and blue [Jennifer Benjamin]). It branched out into what I thought was a very helpful and thought-provoking discussion of the nature of sexual assault and abuse and what we as a society can do to lessen the occurrences of these outrages.
Did you post this much about Trump’s mistreatment and lack of respect for women when he was running? Just curious.
And here is my reply:
To answer your question: yes, I wrote about it and condemned it at the time. In my opinion, that was sexual mischief with consent (like JFK’s — non-reported — relentless misadventures) rather than forced and non-consensual, as with Bill Clinton and Biden and the scores of politically liberal violators that we have seen in the news since the Me Too movement has grown: Weinstein, Epstein, Lauer, Rep. Conyers, Rose, Spacey, Chris Matthews, Bill Cosby, Sen. Franken et al.
In the notorious tape that Hillary Clinton used to try to bring down Trump, it was clear that what was talked about (even assuming it referred to real events and not just typical male “locker talk”) was consensual. It was referring to classic groupie behavior: where women throw themselves at celebrities. So, for example, we always hear about (complete with graphic words for effect) “grab ’em . . . ”
But we don’t hear about the part where he also said, “they let you do anything.” There’s the consent, in the word “let.” And that is how groupies behave. It doesn’t make it right for the man to give into their desires and pursuits (both parties are in the wrong), but it is consensual. And this is a crucial distinction that must be made.
If we’re gonna hang our opinion of President Trump on this tape that was an example of dirty politics, then we have to go with what was on the tape, and it proved that consensual sex was discussed: not rape and harassment, as is alleged with Biden and virtually proven with Slick Willie Clinton.
It goes without saying that I don’t condone any sexual sin, according to my traditional Catholic moral views, but in the case of voting (where I have never been aware of two saints running for an office) it usually — in this fallen, decadent world — comes down to the “lesser of two evils.”
And that was clearly Trump in 2016, because I never ever vote for childkilling advocates. And of course, Hillary Clinton has been enabling Bill’s sexual sins for years: including (important to this discussion) many non-consensual / rape situations. Enabling rape, molestation, or sexual harassment is almost as bad as committing it. There are lots of women, for example, involved in sex trafficking rings. It’s not just men. Grave sexual sin is not confined to one gender.
Therefore, the worst anti-woman (and anti-child) candidate in 2016 was Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump. In voting for him, I was simply consistent with and true to my moral principles that have guided my voting choices ever since I ceased being far-left politically (and morally) way back in 1980.
If I believed that Trump was a rapist and molester, rest assured that I would not have voted for him. I would have voted third party. That’s a deal-breaker for me, just as abortion advocacy is.
Consensual sexual sin, on the other hand, is so widespread among politicians, and the general population, that if it was a deal-breaker as to obtaining my vote, I could hardly vote for anyone. And it’s better to vote for the relatively better candidate — for the sake of the good of society — than to not vote at all, which would be an abandonment of our civic duty to influence government for the better.
Here’s the thing, though: Trump wasn’t exactly talking about consensual behavior. He literally said he “doesn’t even wait.” (Wait for what? Consent?) In context, he was talking about popping some Tic Tacs in case he started kissing Arianne Zucker when she came up to him. Plus, keep in mind that people tend to freeze up when they’re kissed and/or groped unexpectedly. That doesn’t mean that they’re consenting to that sort of behavior.
Now, at best, one could argue that the Access Hollywood tape was ambiguous. But numerous women are on record saying that Trump does exactly what he said he does. That said, if Trump says he does X, and numerous witnesses say that, yes, Trump indeed does X, then it’s likely that Trump does exactly what he himself says he does.
Fair point with the kissing thing. But surely, wouldn’t that be the least of harassment? Not to condone it at all, but to draw distinctions of degree . . .
I agree that unwanted kissing probably isn’t as bad as unwanted groping, but I think it’s still probably sexual assault, at least in some situations. Imagine how you’d feel if a powerful man came up to you and forcibly kissed you without even asking. I’d be pretty weirded out if Trump or Biden did that to me.
I agree. I was just talking about degrees . . .
Numerous women say lots of things when it comes to high-ranking Republicans, out of political animosity. Witness the Kavanaugh fiasco. Ford never presented any compelling evidence at all. The whole thing was a farce.
So we have a lot of women accusing Trump of this and that, just as we have a lot accusing Biden now. The charge is only as good as the evidence presented. We must grant the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I have not claimed that Biden is guilty. I only note the double standard between how he is treated, compared to Trump and Kavanaugh.
Bill Clinton was denying the Lewinsky affair, and Hillary was all set to destroy Monica Lewinsky as trailer trash scum. That is, until the blue dress with semen appeared. Then it was a different story, wasn’t it? Bill Clinton was convicted of perjury and lost his law license. No one denies that now because evidence proved it and Slick Willie was forced to confess (which would have never happened, minus the blue dress).
Evidence is key. The current Biden accuser is presenting legitimate corroborating evidence. Each accuser has to be examined individually, just as in all the other cases like this (Cosby et al). Some could be legitimate; others could be merely political or opportunistic (gold diggers). And that is true on both sides of the political fence.
Normajean Oberst (one of my Facebook friends), added:
We have accusers, just like in Biden’s case. However, we do have plenty of videos showing Biden invading women’s and children’s personal space, near occasion space touching and sniffing hair, and that weird behavior is done right in public! What are we supposed to believe happens in private? We are all asked to pretend that behavior is “normal” and to look the other way. Haven’t we learned anything from the same type of minimizing/ ignoring of behaviors in all the sex abuse scandals that came to light in the Church? We all rightly shake our heads and are angry over those cover-ups. Yet want to excuse or make exceptions when it’s for someone we are rooting for.
There is always the possibility of political motivations, yes, and I agree that due process is important. That said, when numerous witnesses attest to a pattern of behavior, that does provide evidence that said behavior took place. If one woman said that Trump did X, it’d be more questionable than if several woman said he did X. The fact that they accuse him of doing what he himself literally said he does provides even more supporting evidence.
Imagine that I was caught on tape joking about stealing items from convenience stores. I could argue that I was just joking, and whether I was guilty or not would be somewhat questionable. Now, if numerous store owners and other witnesses then said, “Yeah, she stole from us,” then that would be pretty damning.
About Bill Clinton: I was a kid when that all went down, but I do think he should have resigned, just as I think Biden should call for an investigation and/or drop out of the race.
Okay, the kissing bit was in this same tape. Looking at it again now, I think the context shows — again — that it is consensual behavior he is referring to, precisely because it’s a situation of groupie behavior, where groupies (by definition) are totally “willing”:
I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do [i.e., are given permission to do] anything.
So, it’s stupid and wrong (especially for a married man), but it is consensual, as opposed to being forced / unwanted / harassment / rape. These women throw themselves at him because he is a “star” and so he follows suit and kisses them (and other things that we all know about), knowing that they will let him do so. It’s temptation gone awry. But it’s a lot different from randomly choosing a woman in the street or the office and acting in the way that sexual harassers do, with pressure, force, and unwanted aggression.
Now what other women may have said about Trump and sexual advances has to be examined separately. In my opinion, all such “he said she said” scenarios must be determined by the legal process: which is alone the best and fairest way to determine the facts. So I can’t (and I don’t think anyone can) make a final determination of what happened in any specific case, minus a full examination conducted with legal rigor and judged by jurors.
In the case of Michael Jackson, remember, it was commonly assumed by many millions that he was a pedophile. But when it went to trial, he was completely exonerated of all charges. That’s the best we can do. We have to accept those verdicts: just as when Bill Cosby was found guilty, we have to accept that, whether we love his comedy or not.
I’m just referring to this tape right now, which appears to be what made many (mostly already liberal) women form their view of his sexual inclinations (which is why Hillary — of all people! The ultimate Enabler of Sexual Assault — leaked it: to have that effect).
The let part is pretty ambiguous. He says he doesn’t ask and that they “let” him do it, so I think the most likely interpretation of that is that he (at least sometimes) takes their freezing up as consent. There might be some women who like it when he does that, but there are many women who’ve said they didn’t like it.
Supposed he’d actually kissed Arianne Zucker when she came up to him. If she was too shocked to act, would mean she let him do it? I don’t think so.
Again, a fair point, but to me, the overall context is clearly groupie behavior: especially proven by the reference to “star.” Stars are treated differently, and a certain kind of woman will throw herself at stars. Certainly you don’t and can’t deny that? Do you deny that it’s groupie behavior that is the context of his remarks?
You need to read about how women reacted to the Beatles. I just read what is considered the best biography of Paul McCartney and the author said that it could pretty much assumed that every woman who met Paul McCartney would either sexually desire him, or at least be attracted in a non-lustful way. That’s just how it is. It’s an extreme example, but that is how groupies function. The very existence of celebrity turns them on. And the better-looking a male star is, all the more . . .
I think there were likely many women who willingly slept with Trump over the years, but I think the “star” part was probably also his interpretation. If anything, the fact that he could so easily hook up with beautiful women could have potentially made him assume that the women he was attracted to felt the same way about him, sort of like, “Of course she’d like this! I’m Donald Trump, a famous TV star and a rich businessman, and women love me!” If he’s used to getting his way with women, it’s possible he’d assume that every woman was into him and would welcome his advances.
Plus, a woman might feel more pressure not to make a fuss when someone famous kisses or gropes her without her consent. That was definitely the case with Harvey Weinstein. He was also a famous and successful rich man who likely had no problems finding consensual partners, but who also assumed his unwanted behavior was consensual when it wasn’t. If he’d argued that women “let” him do it to them because he’s a “star,” I’d be just as skeptical, especially when numerous women provided testimony of unwanted sexual contact.
But that works both ways. If you are famous and you habitually encounter women being sexually willing, flirting, making advances, and following through, then you would tend to assume that this would be the case just about every time.
That’s exactly what I mean. I think that’s why Trump assumed women were into him when they weren’t.
Now, that may be a wrong assumption in cases, but it’s reasonable to assume based on experience.
That’s where I respectfully disagree. I don’t think it’s reasonable or moral to assume that every woman would be interested in sexual contact based on past experiences with willing women. Many women =/= all women. That’s why it’s so important not to assume and to make sure the person consents before acting. Just because the first 100 women were into it doesn’t mean the 101st will be as well.
We’re in a society that has preached and promulgated “free love” for over 50 years now. This is the fruit of that. But groupie stuff predated the sexual revolution for many years. We could go back to Rudolph Valentino or even Liszt in the 1840s. It’s always been there.
I am not condoning any wrong thing (people often think one is doing that when they are simply analyzing). I am doing an examination of what happens in the groupie / celebrity situation.
Ideally, one should ask permission with each one, yes. Human beings aren’t known to be perfectly fair and reasonable in the face of overwhelming and ongoing sexual temptation.
But even if one wrongly assumes consent, it is still the case that they sincerely believed it was consensual; therefore, it is not a conscious, deliberate act of non-consensual force and coercion; only a mistaken notion that the other person has consented: based on the conditioning of much past experience, where full consent was indeed present and amply verified.
Yes, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not sexual assault or rape. Plus, that could also apply to Biden’s situation as well. He (wrongly) thought Reade would be into it when she wasn’t. Of course, that doesn’t make the behavior any less predatory.
That’s what every rape trial basically comes down to: the alleged rapist claims that he thought it was consensual; the alleged victim argues that it was not consensual.
Everything hinges on whether consent was present. That’s why I have made it a key distinction in this discussion: because it is in every sexual crimes trial. And it is oftentimes a very complex matter. There are times when people have mixed feelings, too: part of them (say, the usual sexual urges) wants to consent, another doesn’t (the moral or conscientious impulse to act in certain ways and not act in others).
And the other party is trying to figure this out. This can lead to a great variety of disagreements and misunderstanding as to what happened in any given sexual incident. The jury’s task is to determine whether it is beyond any reasonable doubt that the alleged rapist did in fact commit rape. If there is a reasonable doubt that he did not, or thought it was consensual, then they vote to acquit. It’s complex; not easy to determine, once conflicting accounts are given and weighed.
Let me take this opportunity to reiterate what a pleasure it always is to dialogue with you. This is how dialogue ought to be. People can see we disagree with each other, but we seem to be mutually respectful, and there is not the slightest hint of acrimony, insult, or attribution of bad motives to the other. Bravo!
I agree with that, but I just want to clarify that I think there’s a difference between cases where the rapist wrongly thought the act was consensual but it’s clear that it objectively wasn’t and cases where there are gray areas. Basically, it’s possible for an act to be objectively a rape or a sexual assault regardless of the abuser’s intentions.
How could you make a blanket statement about that, though, in light of the consideration that absolutely every sexual act can be possibly consented to? I’ll even give Biden the benefit of the doubt. In an account I read, the woman objected, and Biden said, “I thought you liked me.” So he seems to have thought it was consensual, too, and he goes and does his thing.
For the traditional Christian, the morality involved is indeed very clear cut. Any sexual activity not with one’s wife (marriage being a man and a woman!), is immoral, period, but even in marriage mutual consent must be present (so that potential complexities can still arise there). There are degrees of sin, but it’s all wrong. And it is even if one is not married (what we call fornication, being as wrong as adultery). So that’s easy to apply and interpret.
But in today’s secular, sexually liberal / libertine / libertarian / post sexual revolution world, marriage is no longer the dividing line between moral / permissible and immoral / impermissible sex. Consent (and a certain age: 18) is. That’s the new “Thou shalt.”
And that is infinitely more complex once we get down to specific situations. It’s as common and complex as every instance a guy on a third or fourth date “makes a move”: thinking his girlfriend would agree and consent, when in fact, she does not. He thought the hints and consent were there. She proved him wrong, with scolding or the slap of an errant hand or what not.
Yet when consent actually is present: the same process usually takes place: flirting, hints, the ever-movable line of what to touch and what not to. Both genders can read the “signs” wrongly, because we are different from each other, and often poorly communicate and learn of the differences and needs, as it were.
Would you agree with me that the best possible way to determine what happened in any individual case of purported rape, assault, or harassment and to determine whether a crime or immoral act occurred, is a court trial?
If so, then do we not have to reserve judgment until such a trial takes place, regardless of how many accusers come forth? Each accuser is only as “good” as her evidence. I would say that in the case of a lot of accusers, it suggests that at least one trial ought to occur (i.e., that a grand jury should decide to indict). It doesn’t mean nothing but the mere presence of many is not itself proof. There should be a trial of the one with the best evidence, to determine if the person has committed the crime.
So that happened with both Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby. One was acquitted and the other found guilty. I accept both verdicts, because I have great faith in the jury system to arrive fairly and justly at truth and facts. It’s not perfect (e.g., O. J. Simpson), but it’s by far the best method we have and it has served the cause of law and order and justice and the “good society” since time immemorial.
You wrote, “How could you make a blanket statement about that, though, in light of the consideration that absolutely every sexual act can be possibly consented to?”
Can you clarify what you’re referring to here?
I meant something more along the lines of some cases being objectively sexual assaults even if the person doesn’t realize they’re committing sexual assault. To give you a hypothetical example, imagine that a sober guy somehow didn’t realize that sleeping with a profoundly drunk/drugged woman was rape. At worst, he might’ve thought he was being a bit sketchy, but he truly didn’t see himself as a rapist. That wouldn’t mean that what he did wasn’t objectively rape or that it wasn’t objectively harmful to the victim.
Also, it’s gross, but many child molesters (delusionally) try to rationalize their behavior and often think their activities are consensual and wanted when they’re clearly not. That said, in cases like those, it’s possible for an act to be sexual assault or rape regardless of the perp’s intentions.
I do think trials are often the best way of settling the truth, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes relevant evidence is held back if it’s deemed inadmissible or prejudicial. For example, Nicole Brown Simpson thought OJ would eventually kill her, if I remember correctly, but that wasn’t allowed to be discussed in court. (This is one case I think the jury clearly got wrong.)
I’d like to think juries get things right more often than not, but they’re wrong more than people realize. Keep in mind you have to think the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to convict them. I take that to mean that one thinks it’s at least 90%+ probable the person is guilty. I mean, I could see myself acquitting someone who I thought was probably (say, 70% likely) guilty if I wasn’t convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.
I also think it’s possible to conditionally think it’s more than 50% likely that someone did something even without a court case, just by looking at the testimony and evidence available. And in general, multiple people attesting to the same behavior provides stronger evidence than just one person attesting to something.
All of that said, even without a trial, I’d put the probability of Trump being guilty of at least some nonconsensual sexual misbehavior at greater than 50% but less than 90% at this point. Of course, that could change based on new and/or stronger evidence.
Well, your example of the drugged woman doesn’t overcome my objection because that’s clearly a case of having a severely affected will, thus lessening consent to the point where it is basically non-consent. Hence, scoundrel men for centuries have tried to get a woman drunk to have sex, knowing that their true will is diminished. This is what Bill Cosby did.
Also, the child molester example is (by your own report) “delusional” at worst or (if not that) an example of rationalizing, which by definition is seeking to special plead or explain away what is perfectly obvious as a terrible and outrageous sin to most people.
But (we Christians say) this is what sin does to a mind. It becomes more and more irrational, delusional, in bondage to things like drugs, sex, and materialism, and unable to make crucial moral distinctions.
Jury trials remain the best way to determine what happened in these alleged sexual assaults. You said they were “often the best way of settling the truth” and “juries get things right more often than not.” But I don’t see any better way, in cases where they fail or don’t take place. I wrote: “It’s not perfect, but it’s by far the best method we have.”
So with all this business of alleged crimes of Biden and Trump, it’s the best way to determine guilt. I don’t see anything else that comes close. You could have private investigators, but then they usually have a prior opinion or agenda, or are hired by someone who does. And there is only one, compared twelve people who have to agree to convict.
The advantage and benefit of the doubt has to be with the accused (and I include Joe Biden in that). That’s the genius of the [historical] English system of jurisprudence. You don’t get the Salem Witch Trials or Stalinist Show Trials with this system in place.
So I continue to say that I can’t determine if Trump is guilty of sexual assault unless one or more of the accusers has their claims fully scrutinized: in court. Otherwise, it’s good ol’ “he said she said” and purely subjective opinion.
But I honestly and sincerely do not think that the famous “tape” proved that he is a sexual assaulter. It showed willingness to engage in consensual sex of some sort, for sure. And I don’t condone it, but it’s not enough to make me not vote for a person in this imperfect world, where saints (unfortunately) don’t run for office. And if they did, they’d be so lied about and savaged by the end of the campaign that they would hardly be recognizable anymore.
My bringing up the examples of the drunk woman and the molested child was only to show that the perp’s intentions aren’t always necessary to say if an act was objectively a sexual assault.
Other cases where, say, a guy is making out with his girlfriend and she tells him she doesn’t want him to touch her somewhere probably isn’t sexual assault as long as he stops when asked. I think context matters a lot, too, though. There’s a huge difference between a powerful man groping someone without asking when he can’t reasonably ascertain whether a woman would be into it or not, and a guy mistakenly misreading his girlfriend in a sexual situation and stopping without going further when he realizes it’s not wanted.
Ideally, people should talk about what they do and don’t want, but I think a no-means-no legal standard generally makes sense in the context of relationships if both parties are reasonably capable of consent. Ethically, though, I think people should make the effort to make sure consent is obtained and that the other person is okay with said act.
You wrote: “But I don’t see any better way, in cases where they fail or don’t take place. I wrote: ‘It’s not perfect, but it’s by far the best method we have.'”
I agree with your comments here.
It still sounds, to some degree, you give Trump a pass for his behaviour and that saddens me. Lesser of two evils?
I made it clear that I don’t condone it, and I condemn it. That’s one thing. But being faced with a choice in the voting booth is another. The candidates ain’t saints; we have to pick the best one. And, by the way, the Catholic Church expressly allows us to vote for less than perfect people. Otherwise, we could never vote. This is what you don’t seem to grasp.
Non-consensual sexual sin is more wrong than consensual sexual sin. That’s a legitimate moral distinction (one made in Catholic moral theology), and one that I bring to this discussion.
I’m not condoning or giving a “pass” to any wrong behavior. But you and I disagree even about what behavior we are discussing. This is the problem. If you think Trump is a rapist and harasser / molester, I disagree. I also said that if I became convinced that he was any of those things, I would not vote for him.
We all have a responsibility to accurately understand what others believe. I have made my views very clear in this post. I do not condone any sexual sin. But we don’t have saints to vote for, so our vote will almost always entail voting for a person we 1) disagree with, in part, and 2) think has committed some serious sins.
If no politician is a saint than why post at all what they may or may not have done.
Great question! In times past, people didn’t do that. They never wrote about JFK’s insatiable sexual appetites, nor LBJ’s. There were even rumors of an Eisenhower mistress. But the press didn’t write about it in those days. And I think that made more sense than what we have now. If those things were known in those days, they never would have been elected (1960 was a very close election as it was). Even as late as 1984, Democrat candidate Gary Hart was hounded out of the race because of an affair. But after Bill Clinton, affairs are no longer deal-breakers.
Today, its a double standard: with alleged (or real, proven) Republican personal sins getting nonstop, ultra-biased coverage and even proven Democrat sins winked at and dismissed or ignored. And so we see that again with Joe Biden now, even though his accuser is presenting tangible, relevant evidence of corroboration of her story at the time.
So I would say: either go back to the media approach during JFK or be fair to both sides if these things must be written and talked about. But of course, the latter never happens. It’s completely biased against Republicans and advocacy for Democrats (even Google, Facebook, and Twitter all censor in a far-leftist manner). This being the case, obviously, Republicans will speak out against it, and defend those who (we feel, based on all we can find out) are unjustly accused.
Unless of course they were convicted of their offenses.
Exactly! That’s the key: actual evidence and conviction. This is why we have the judicial system, with its very careful rules for evidence and establishment of what happened.
Why not just speak directly of what each is offering in their campaign?
That would be a nice change, wouldn’t it? The Democrats have decided since 2016 to go to a “bash Trump 24-7 and do nothing else” approach and so we are where we are. They have no interest in discussing mere issues . . . And so obviously we will defend the one whom we elected, if evidence of his guilt is insufficient. We just went through three ridiculous years of all this Russian conspiracy nonsense, and it was concluded that nothing wrong happened. Then they went right over to this Ukrainian BS for the impeachment, which was equally vapid. Joe Biden was the one who was guilty of that.
The current Biden harassment stuff is not just political. It’s also from people who are highly concerned about the treatment of women (sexual harassment, molestation, and rape), including (very much) myself. We talk about how we are changing as a society in how we treat women, yet we will sit here and wink at the evidence being presented against Joe Biden?
Even assuming the truthfulness of similar accusations against Trump, why, then, would there not be equal outrage at these charges against Biden (i.e., at the possibility that he may have actually done these things)? A person truly concerned about women would have to condemn these things across the board. It’s not a political discussion, but a moral one. But that’s not what we see. Biden is getting a complete pass from the Democrat Party: exactly as I would have predicted.
Give clarity to what is being offered rather than trashing.
Amen! Does that happen in Canadian politics? Congrats if so. We haven’t done it here since Eisenhower.
I am not an American. I am not one party or the other. Though I can say, from my own opinion, I knew Trump would win the moment Ms Clinton was announced, as I felt, again in my opinion, she was the worst choice.
That was very insightful of you. Virtually none of the political commentators here thought so. But you could see it.
It is still disappointing that people bash rather than just address what is being offered in the campaign.
Yes it is. But note, in my recent spate of shared articles about Biden: they actually do offer evidence. This is a serious charge. We are told that we must believe women who are brave enough to speak out against their unjust sexual treatment. I always seek to do that. I listened carefully to Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser. I concluded that there was nothing to her charges (I thought she remembered wrongly, due to psychological trauma), but I listened and was fair-minded about it (and more liberal friends of mine complimented me for it). Yet the other way around it doesn’t seem to work that way.
I haven’t changed. I’m the same person I’ve always been, including a great concern for how women are treated. I try my best, by God’s grace, to treat them with respect and dignity in my life (which I think is shown in my marriage, relationships with my late mother, daughter, co-workers, female friends, etc.), and I want to see this Me Too movement progress as much as possible.
You and I are no different in that regard. You may not like my vote for Trump, but I hope at least that I have shown you that a legitimate, honest case, can be made for that vote, consistent with a Christian conscience, and that it doesn’t entail any compromise of sexual morality or condoning of any of what Trump has reputedly committed.
A vote — clearly! — is not the same as saying, “I agree 100% with everything this person has ever said, done, or believed.”