The Power of Metaphor


The language of politics is one of the complex issues that includes many strategies of language used to influence recipients towards a desired thought or attitude. The use of language strategies differ depending on the aim and conviction of the speaker. The choice of any particular metaphor is meaningful since it is meant to establishing a common ground with the voters by referring to familiar domains of personal experiences and social activity only relevant to the country. The presidents elected by the citizens in the United States of America have to make abiding impressions and comply with the desires and demands of the people of America. The ambition of the president is to boost political participation, encourage mutual understanding, and show common ground for world politics and domestic matters. The inauguration day of the US presidents is January 20, whereby during this day the president of the State swears the oath of the office. Subsequently, this is followed by inaugural address to the people setting the tone for the new administration. This paper aims at analyzing and elucidating the metaphorical personification of the American political discourse.

In his state of the union in 2012, president Barrack Obama used a number of metaphors a some of the basic themes for his campaign. Barrack made a presentation as a strong commander-in-chief, a unifier, and a defender of the prosperity of all Americans, at the core of which can be described as his fairness doctrine. To persuade his speech recipients, the president used ‘the army is the nation’ metaphor, which simply be described as the war metaphor. This metaphor was probably chosen by the president to illustrate the need to unity, need for regulation, and the existence of a strong national leader. At the preliminary of his speech, the president praised his troops and claimed victory over the bin Laden and the al Qaeda. However, contrary to the preceding president, Obama did not stress so much on the evil nature of the enemy but rather on the heroic nature of the soldiers who were symbols of the American values of courage, selflessness, and teamwork.

The president elucidated that, the troops are the role models of the country and the future generation to maintain a bigger goodwill, and unity for the country. The ‘the army is the nation’ metaphor used by Barrack Obama was powerful in illustrating the need for collaborative unity and unity. This metaphor also emphasized for the role of the president as a strong and decisive commander-in-chief and his likelihood of appealing to more Americans that are conservative. The war metaphor is on the other hand reflection that the rhetoric violence in discourse is a thing Americans are most likely familiar and comfortable with and if the president uses it as a tool of persuasion, it is because of how it is viewed positive by a large part of the audience. Despite the fact that, Barrack Obama’s speech might not have been one of the most inspiring, visionary, or transformational disclosure; it served a political efficiency. Usage of familiar cultural domain concept like war, have been applied to appeal to voters that are more conservative and certainly to the American’s patriotism and nationalism. The metaphor was also successful because of meeting one of the requirements of the state of the state of the union genre by linking of the past and the future by addressing the queries of continuity and change.

The metaphor of war and other metaphors used in America and other countries have just one common purpose; persuading or manipulating the audience by the politicians for keeping their power. Such strong words are used to appeal to emotions and to include and affect the audience, which can be included in the political cognition theory that uses the psychology information-processing model (Mio, pp 116). The fact that the politicians are either Republicans or Democrats and that neither of them writes the speeches, it means that whatever, it written is something that is universal and holds even to future generations. In the 1900, most politicians’ audience was a special interest group concerned with and attentive to the political issues presented by the politicians. In the contemporary world, the audience has been greatly extended, where by some people can have access to a public speech through media, or the internet. In this case, a speech presented through the media is adjusted to appeal to a larger group of people. This calls for a choice of much stronger words or much more convincing metaphors. These speeches are supposed to have highlights and memorable phrases to be remembered and to catch the attention of people beyond the special interest group. However, most politicians sometimes would at times not reveal the people the metaphorical meanings of what they say because they claim the authority of determining what may or may not be seen literally or metaphorically in the operations of power. This is actually, what made Obama have the photographs of bin Laden concealed after he was killed and his body disposed in the sea (Mirzoeff, 1188). World superpowers also apply strong convicting or diplomatic words to convince other countries in either trade or other international relations. However, some of these countries at times end up differing leading to war in dangerous weaponry like bombs and missiles (Cohn, pp 694)



Works Cited

Cohn, C., Sex, and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectual. (1987), Signs Vol, 12 (4) Pp. 694

Mirzoeff, N. The Clash of Visualizations: Counterinsurgency and Climate Change. Social Research (2011) Vol78 (4). Pp. 1188

Mio, J. S., Metaphor and Symbol (2009). internet resource. Pp 116.

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