Common Ground and Middle Ground aren’t the same. Common Ground is the set of things that we share. We’re humans, we’re parents, we love coffee, or we love dogs. Finding common ground is a strategy used for team building and conflict resolution. It is a form of connection that builds bridges.
Middle Ground is compromise. If your land is on the north bank of the river and my land is on the south bank of the river meeting in the middle of the river is somewhere between your camp and my camp.
Nobody has to win or lose to find common ground. We may share the common ground of loving dogs but be on different sides of a political issue. Nobody loses a thing to find common ground.
Middle ground involves loss. If you stay on the south bank and I stay on the north bank of the river, we have not moved to middle ground. If we both wade out into the river, we both leave our camps.
Middle ground is not always right. Sometimes it’s downright dangerous. Sometimes, if we wade into the river to meet half way, we’ll both drown.
Finding common ground is rarely wrong.If we’re going to heal the divide in this country, it starts by finding common ground – finding out where we are alike and where we agree. After we’ve found common ground, we may have issues where we can find middle ground. There may be issues where we will never find middle ground, because there is only right and wrong.