Now that you're a Republican, you have to come to terms with that spur to all GOP actions, the focus of all its helmet-haired lust:

This is an example of money. In America, it is green. You may remember it as those little pieces of paper that travel from your service-industry employer through your hands en route to the purchase of Pabst Blue Ribbon, import CDs, and zines. It sports tiny print and cryptic secret-society iconography in its margins, but the most important thing on it is the number. The bigger the number, the more things you can own and control.

That said, here is the most important thing to remember about money: As a good Republican, you do not spend it. Unlike those well-intentioned naîfs who want to clean tar off ducks and manatees, Republicans understand the more pieces of green paper they have, the more they are "rich." And the more they are "rich," the more they can get others to work for them and give them even more money. This is called "capitalism."

It's important to note here that while Republicans love money, the amount of money is less important than the actual hoarding of it--i.e., ensuring that regulatory pickpockets, public-sector PERS-snatchers, and swarthy indigents keep their soiled mitts out of the private citizen's collective vest pocket. And while Republicans cherish the freedom to make money, they have no idealistic illusions about its power to balm all burns: They don't expect their brand-new, 150-passenger yachts to alleviate the hunger pangs of Somali moppets. That said, those Somali moppets are welcome to clean the toilets on said yachts for a nominal sum. This is called "opportunity."

Now, as a failed idealist, you may want to be rich so you can donate laughable sums to various charities; and so you will have to run a business. Now you could, like the haggard immigrant, discern a public need and fill it with goods and services at a fair price. This is warmly referred to as "pluck" and "initiative" in various GOP platforms. But shrewd Republicans know it is infinitely less ulcerating to inherit a business from your parents or to obtain an official license to pilfer (which is otherwise known as the "government contract").

Any of these three approaches (well, the last two, anyway) wind to the same happy conclusion: The Republican makes money, then raises the cost and lowers the quality of the thing he or she is selling, and then makes even more money. The end result is that you're placed alongside the other agenda-setting angels on the tiny head of the capitalist pin--a wee pinnacle that controls the vast majority of what other people discuss in earnest or flail against.