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The Contender
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Am I Christine O'Donnell?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/23/2011 Category: News
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,810 times Debate No: 16657
Debate Rounds (2)
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During the 2010 U.S. Senate special election in Delaware, Christian O’Donnell released this hypnotically mesmerizing video:

Christine O’Donnell claims to be you. She claims that she is you indefinitely. She was taking to an open audience, addressing the entire population. She was talking to all of us. The referents are us. In this, she claims to be us and thus she claims to be me. But if she is me, then who am I? I most certainly know who I am. I am me. But if she is me, than she is I and I am her. But if she is me, then am I (that is, do I exist)? Is she me, am I replaced? Did her witchcraft replace my identity? My existence? But then where did I go? If she is me, then am I really nothing? But she claims to be me. I will argue that I am not Christine O’ Donnell…

Indeed, I am most certain that I am something, and that I know in this. In respect of these truths, I can answer her campaign managers, who ask “what if you are deceived”? Deceived about whether or not and if I am? For if I am deceived by them, and Christine O’Donnell - the witch - I am. For he who is not, cannot be deceived; and if I am deceived, by this same token I am. And since I am if I am deceived, how am I deceived in believing that I am? For it is certain that I am if I am deceived. Since therefore, I the person deceived, should be, even if I were deceived, certainly, I am not deceived in this knowledge that I am. And thus, neither am I deceived in knowing that I know. For, as I know that I am, so I know this also, that I know. For how can I know anything, if I am nothing?[1]

But how can I know that there is not something different from what I have just considered? Can I doubt this? Is not Christine O’ Donnell some horrible witch, who puts these reflections – that I do not exist – into my mind? Is not possible that I am capable of producing these thoughts myself? Or is her power too strong? Am I not then likewise persuaded that I do not exist? Not at all; of a surety I myself do exist, since I persuaded myself of something. But Christine O’Donnell, through the power of suggestion, is very powerful and very cunning, and indeed has ever employed her ingenuity in deceiving me. Then without doubt I exist also if she uses her evil witchcraft to deceive me. And let her deceive me as much as she will, she can never cause me to be nothing so long as I think that I am something. Thus, after reflecting well and carefully on this thing, we must come to the definite conclusion of this: That I am, I exist. This is necessarily true every time I pronounce it.[2] I am that I am and that’s all that I am. And I am not Popeye the sailorman…

Yet, Christine O’Donnell does not say that I am nothing. Indeed, she says that she is me! What horrible witchcraft she has brought upon me. But if she is me, then I must be her! Is it not true that I am her and she is me? Are we one? And then, what if I think less of Christine O’Donnell for doing this to me and us? What is I think she is nothing? Am I, are we, truly nothing – to each other - to ourselves? But I am something, and I do exist. And she is who she is and I am who I am. This is a truth. It is also truth that one cannot be something and not something at the same time. Thus, if I am here, I cannot also be there at the same time, for if I was I would not be here. And if I am there, I can not also be here at the same time, for if I was I would not be there. Indeed, if she was me and I was her, we would be in two places at one. And I am not on there, declaring that “I’m you”, and that you are we and therefore declaring that we are me, as if I were referring to myself who is not there, but here, as if I were there declaring this statement to us. One person cannot be in two places at once, and thus one of us is not. But, as I have shown, I am. And thus Christine O’Donnell, that witch, is she not her? Thus, what is Christine, besides a witch? She is not me, and she is her. But if she is not me, has she been replaced? She has not, she is her. Is Christine O’Donnell nothing? Yes, for in some sense, she is nothing to me. Thank you.

[1] St. Augustine – The City of God
[2] Rene Descartes – Meditations on First Philosophy


I'd first like to thank my opponent for this debate in the hopes that it garners more pro votes. Secondly, I wish my opponent good luck in proving that he is not Christine O'Donnell.

My opponent cites and argues some lofty sources and certainly has been dutiful in providing an angel for ‘The Self'. My opponent has certainly provided some evidence that if Christine O'Donnell is Christine O'Donnell, then Christine O'Donnell is not my opponent.

I would love to refute my opponent's sources line by lines but it isn't necessary. His arguments are clearly based upon taking Christine O'Donnell's words literally, and this is the basis for why he is wrong, and in fact, is indeed, Christine O'Donnell.

lit�er�al/ˈlitərəl/ [1}
Adjective: Taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory: "dreadful in its literal sense, full of dread"

It is clear that my opponent was taking Ms. O'Donnell's words literally as his arguments deal with the philosophies of the self and contrast of the other. Since Christine O'Donnell did not mean "I am you" literally, my opponent's initial argument can be entirely discarded.

Furthermore, in this context, my opponent is indeed, Christine O'Donnell, as we will see.

met�a�phor (mt-f�r, -fr) [2]

1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in "a sea of troubles" or "All the world's a stage" (Shakespeare).

2. One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol: "Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven" (Neal Gabler).

As we can see from the definition of metaphor, it is more likely that Ms. O'Donnell meant, "You are like me", or "I am like you", rather than the literal, "I am you", "You are me".
In the context of Christine O'Donnell's message, "You are like me", my opponent indeed is, like "an upper class white woman communicating something in ways we don't quite understand", and thus, is Christine O'Donnell.


My opponent is Christine O'Donnell, Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for participating in this great and important debate to philosophically investigate the matter as to whether or not Christine O’Donnell is me…

Indeed, my opponent is correct in assuming that that I am taking Christine O’ Donnell’s words literally. But how can we not? When she examines her eight statements we can see that we must, if we are to make sense of her motivations:

“I’m not a witch.”
“I’m nothing you’ve heard.”
“None of us are perfect.”
“But none of us can be happy with what we see all around us.”
“Politician who think spending, trading favors and backroom deals are the way to stay in office.”
“I’ll go to Washington, and I’ll do what you’d do.”
“I’m Christine O’Donnell and I approve of this message”
“I’m you.”

Clearly, the seven preceding statements are to be taken literally. When she says that she is not a witch, in a feeble attempt to convince us to believe that she is not what she is, she really means that she literally is not a literal witch – or else why would she say so? Furthermore, when she states that she is Christine O’ Donnell and that she “approves of this message”, she means just that. Is she metaphorically Christine O’Donnell? Does she metaphorically approve of this message – but not really?

We have no real reason to assume that she is being metaphorical in the preceding seven statements, so then why must we assume that she is being metaphorical when she says “I’m you”? Why should we pick and choose that only one of these statements must be metaphorical? In fact, we have no reason to suggest that the preceding seven are metaphorical, so why “I’m you”? We shouldn’t. When she says “I’m you”, she clearly means that she is indeed, you. If she meant it to be metaphorical, she would have stated that she was “like you”. However, she didn’t and it is not. What would I do at Washington that would be metaphoric? Not, she would try to do what I would do literally, if she were me, because she claims that she is me – in the literally sense. Clearly, this is a logical impossibility on her part, I assert. But this doesn’t negate that she has said it…

But if my opponent is right, and by some manner of witchcraft that Christine O’Donnell concocted (purely hypothetically speaking of course) to deceive me in believing that we indeed are Christine O’Donnell in a metaphorical sense, then I am still not Christine O’Donnell. If it is only a metaphor, then the most that Christine O Donnell can be is “like me” and, in essence, she is not me – which affirms my resolution. Thus, we are not identical and at the most she is similar to me, that is, we are both upper-class, middle-aged, conservative Christian white-women-witches who are affiliated with the Republican Party and communicates some things in ways even we don’t quite understand. Metaphorically speaking. Indeed, I am like her. But I am not her. Thank you and I thank my opponent.


I'd like to thank my opponent for this debate, as it has been a genuinely interesting experience.

My opponent contends that O'Donnell's first 7 phrases, were meant to be taken literally, and thus the final phrase, "I am you", should be taken literally as well.

I will now show that the use of literal speech is very commonly followed by metaphors in much the same way as Christine O'Donnell's PSA.

I will show the various phrases from random speeches throughout history and point out whether these items, were meant to be understood, literally or figuratively. By doing so I will show that from experience with the language and the context of speeches or PSA's, we can all deduce when we should believe something is being said in a literal or metaphorical way.

JFK inauguration [1]

"…I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago" – "I have sworn" - literal

"The world is very different now" Literal

"…We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty" – somewhat literal

"I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people…- Literal

"…let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own." – This is the final line of Kennedy's speech and he means "Lead the land" as a metaphor
Would my opponent contend that based on his standards, that Kennedy is suggesting that we should literally ‘lead the land'?

Susan B. Anthony Speech

"I stand before you tonight under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted at the last presidential election" Literal

"It shall be my work this evening to prove to you that in thus voting, I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen's rights" Literal

"It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union." Literal

"For any state to make sex a qualification that must ever result in the disfranchisement of one entire half of the people, is to pass a bill of attainder, or, an ex post facto law, and is therefore a violation of the supreme law of the land" Literal
"Webster, Worcester, and Bouvier all define a citizen to be a person in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office." Literal

"Hence, every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several states is today null and void..." – Metaphor…

Perhaps this is not a metaphor precisely, but my opponent would have to agree that it couldn't be taken literally as the laws still existed at the time.

Edouard Daladier [3]

"Germany seeks to establish a domination over the world completely different from any known in history" Literal

"It seeks the systematic and total destruction of those conquered by Hitler" Literal

"…There are millions of human beings now living in misery" Literal

"Nazi propaganda is entirely founded on the exploitation of the weakness of the human heart" Literal (though ‘the heart' is used metaphorically)

"For us there is more to do than merely win the war" Literal

"In this world of masters and slaves, which those madmen who rule at Berlin are seeking to forge, we must also save liberty and human dignity." Metaphor

"World of masters and slaves" is a metaphor for social conditions and equality etc.

FDR Inauguration 1 [4]

"This is a day of national consecration" Literal

"This great Nation will endure as it has endured" Literal

"…The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization" I'm going to say he meant this literally

"Our greatest primary task is to put people to work." Literal

"I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time" Not literal, as one cannot literally return courage.

From the example of great speeches in history we can see that metaphors very commonly follow literal speech and are often intertwined among things that, are intended to be understood, literally. Thus, it is crucial that the listener interpret each and every statement by an individual on its own merits and context thus not to create confusion.

Any speaker uses a wide variety of methods to draw a listener in, in the case of O'Donnell, various facts and feelings, followed by a metaphor for commonality. The juxtaposition of these components is indeed common in politics and does not separate Christine O'Donnell's psychosis, from any other politician's. Thus, Christine O'Donnell's metaphor of similarity is just like any other inane political strategy that has been followed for centuries. (The above speeches are not examples of that)

My above argument stands therefore, in the context of this and many political messages that the final phrase can ultimately be taken figuratively. My opponent is thus, ‘like' Christine O'Donnell and therefore is Christine O'Donnell, in the context of her PSA.

Vote Pro.

Debate Round No. 2
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by XimenBao 7 years ago
Timely, though.
Posted by yurock 7 years ago
i am sorry but this is a really stupid subject.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Gileandos 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Nicely done.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Imaginative and entertaining resolution by Jar but excellent close by airmax to extend his first rebuttal: 3:2 Pro.