A few years ago there was a sudden spate of stranded eighteen-wheelers on a winding gravel road near our West Virginia property. A glance at a map would have shown that this was not a suitable route. But GPS systems had just become popular. Truckers obeyed the GPS commands and got stuck — unable to move forward or go back. (This was a huge drag for the folks who lived a little further up the road. It’s about 50 miles around the other side of the mountain.) Signs at the start of the road made little difference — the truckers didn’t notice them or assumed the GPS must be right. Finally, the mapping companies got the word, and the route was removed from the directions. Good for the truckers, but folks with SUVs are missing a fine shortcut.
On a long journey with a general destination obeying a GPS voice alone is likely to result in missed opportunities, and could get you stranded. Studying a map before you set off (and knowing the rules of the road) makes for a better journey.
We’ve been following GPS commands for the past twenty years. Let’s study a map. Knowing the difference between legislation and regulation, knowing the organizations, pondering the destination — these are critical.
To prepare for your journey, read the Political Action Primer for Practitioners, and be ready to answer the questions at the top of the page.