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The Middle Ground by Tony Chapman

This is my first book titled 'The Middle Ground', it's only 500 words so you can read it right now. It's free, so feel free to share.

My book takes place where four mountains tower over a fertile plain that once fed a thriving society. A Castle guards each mountain, and each day the people inside fortify their position to drown out the others. The irony is that each Castle feels they have carved out a unique culture, but the reader soon discovers their similarities. Each Castle is the perfect place to have an opinion validated as their citizens are all like-minded people who only consume like-minded content. Each Castle is so confident in its strength in numbers that not even science or math can catapult in to challenge or change its point of view. A leader of one Castle is elected to govern. Over time, fortifying each position manifests to tarring the others in the worst possible way and enshrining their superiority. Each society points to the fringe of their opponent's society, the rabid dogs who spew filth, as the majority's voice. One day a drawbridge is lowered, and a convoy of protestors starts heading to the Castle where the elected leader lives. From other castles, more people appear, and their journey is encouraged by people throwing in money and support. The media anxiously waits with cameras at the hairpin hoping for that one picture to propagate a narrative that satisfies their audience. The convoy soon learns that there can be no outcome without dialogue; they must lock in. If that happens, a protest intended to make a point will lose its point as it begins to test the system. And then magic happens. The leader emerges to meet the convoy as it reaches the middle ground. She is humble and tired, and she talks from the heart and not notes. She describes her job as demanding and, at times, impossible. With so much change and unpredictability, she knows her decisions often appear reactive and overreaching, and given the circumstances, some are proven wrong. But she is open-minded and deeply cares about everyone's point of view. She listens generously. She can see that the vast majority are there because they are frustrated and anxious. They are not there to terrorize or tear down. After listening to their point of view and sharing hers, she suggests an idea. They have a fruitful discussion make further recommendations. Although the compromise isn't perfect, it is something that everyone can live and build upon. And then magic happens again. The protest ends, and instead of each party returning to their castles and spinning it as their victory, they celebrate. They realize that the middle ground is where humanity and diverse societies prosper and flourish and where the dreams of future generations are realized. They plant a beautiful red and white flag and the castles they once protected crumble under the weight of a one-sided view. The End is in fact the Beginning.


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