I've always been fascinated with language, and when I read George Lakoff's, Metaphors We Live By (1980), I knew why. Words paint mental pictures. They can quickly trigger the construction of large scenes and scenarios--all in the listener's mind. And American english is riddled with these colorful metaphors, like "ideas are food," for example. We might say, "here are the raw facts," or "we're digesting the information," or "I can't swallow that."
My favorites are ones that explore ideas and ideals about social life and citizenship, and bonus points if it touches on what it means to be an American. There's the old "melting pot" metaphor, but I prefer the "salad bowl," which I understand is more of a thing in Canada. I also enjoyed Eric Liu's The Gardens of Democracy (2011) where society is a garden, and we are the tenders of the garden, contending with pests, while also nurturing and expanding our plot. I also like, "life is a long trail hike," where we just keep moving, overcoming obstacles. The ultimate classic is the motto of the USA: E Pluribus Unum, or "out of many we are one." Somehow lots of variety in peoples, are able to thrive under one law.
I'm looking for more metaphors to illustrate V.G.o.T. posters and it has been a terrific line of thought.