If you’re not from the midwestern United States, Menards is a chain of home improvement stores, similar to Lowe’s or Home Depot or your neighbor’s unlocked garage when they’re out of town. During the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Menards encouraged their employees to take an online civics course to improve their understanding of the government. Who can get mad at that?
It turns out, a reporter at The Investigative Fund discovered that the “civics” materials Menards encouraged employees to peruse for implicit promotions actually had a lot in common with literature from a for-profit, ultra-Republican company called Prosperity 101.
Here’s how the Menards civics course worked: If you were a run-of-the-mill employee, you were encouraged to take a no-big-deal civics class for your own edification on your own time. The course itself concluded with an online pass-or-fail,multiple-choice test, which you’d want to take if you wanted to advance within this company. The only problem was that the materials included scientific pie charts explaining how the government was the worst and Obama hated America.
For anyone who doesn’t have three seconds to read the graphic, the pie chart says that under President Obama’s administration, your tax dollars are given to “supporters” and postage stamps, ha ha. Also included in the graphic are separate categories for corruption, sleaze, and two different plumbing metaphors – “tossed down the drain” and “flushed down a toilet.” It should be noted that in addition to sending your federal taxes into a drain or toilet, you can also “piss them away,” on the ground, we guess? If you aren’t peeing in a toilet or a drain, you’re living in a country without plumbing, so peeing away your taxes into a separate container feels like a weird metaphor but whatever – they’re making jokes.