The Truth, Mainly - 11/23/1992

Bipartisan voodoo hits prez, me
by Leon Satterfield

My favorite post-election analysis is the one that says things went all to hell for George Bush because someone laid a voodoo curse on him.

That word just in from a Haitian Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste. He says he doesn't know exactly who cast the spell, but he's pretty sure it's been in effect since the Haitian president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was deposed in a coup a little over a year ago. And it won't be lifted until the Bush policy of sending back all the Haitian refugees gets rescinded.

The most graphic evidence of the voodoo curse the priest told us about was the President's barfing on the Japanese prime minister earlier this year.

"There's something strange going on there," I remember remarking to my wife at the time. "Something dark and mysterious that the White House medical team can't account for. It just might be voodoo."

She started singing the old Sinatra song about the witchcraft that results "when you do/that voodoo/that you do so well." Then she snorted.

She snorted in the same way I imagine some of you are snorting right now. Silly superstition, you're probably snickering, the mark of a primitive, ill-educated mind. But I'm not snorting. I'm not snickering.

It's partly because I like the delicious irony of voodoo bringing down a man whose most cogent public statement came in the 1980 primaries when he said that Ronald Reagan was proposing "voodoo economics."

But it's mainly because the morning after the election, I was myself struck down by what I now see as a voodoo curse: I broke my leg.

Oh sure, I can hear some of you saying. He's just trying to cover up his clumsiness by elevating himself to the same exalted plane as our President. But hear me out.

I had to hurry, see, to make it to my eight o'clock class on that Wednesday morning because I'd overslept, having stayed up late the night before to revel in the way the President was taking it in his electoral shorts. And I was also hurrying bacause I could hardly wait to see my colleagues who were Bush voters. I wanted to say the academic equivalent of "nyah, nyah, nyah." I wanted to throw oranges onto their playing field and tear down their goal posts. I wanted to be petty and mean-spirited in victory.

And I would have been too, except for that little patch of ice at the foot of our porch steps. I haven't checked the meteorological reports on northeast Lincoln for November 4, but I suspect they'll show the temperature was above freezing at 7:50 a.m.—everywhere except for the three square inches I stepped.

Just a coincidence that I happened to plant my foot in that spot? Sure it was—just like it's just a coincidence that the Japanese prime minister was sitting where the President barfed.

Clearly, it was voodoo ice.

There's nothing like seeing your leg pointed toward Omaha while your foot is going off toward Beatrice to convince you that you've been subjected to some kind of supernatural intervention.

And that wasn't the worst of it. After I had surgery to patch up my broken fibula, the anaesthesia caused my plumbing to seize up. I'll spare you the grisly details, but the remedy involved a young woman in a nurse's uniform going a good long way toward taking revenge on all the male gynecologists since the invention of gynecology.

On the Sunday morning after the surgery, I was explaining to my wife how profounding I'd suffered, and how only something as diabolical as voodoo could account for it. She seemed insufficiently sympathetic and even laughed out loud when I told her about the young woman getting revenge on male gynecologists.

"Fat chance," she said.

Then she read me a portion of Katheen Rutledge's piece in the Sunday paper about some election pamphlets that said "Christian beware. . . .To vote for Bill Clinton is to sin against God."

"Maybe it wasn't voodoo in your case," my wife said. "Maybe God was annoyed at your pleasure in the President's taking it in his electoral shorts. Maybe She really is a Republican and maybe She sometimes takes the form of a young nurse with a catheter—to teach us humility, don't you know."

"Like fun," I said. "If God's a Republican, why'd He let George Bush lose the election? Answer me that."

She allowed I might have a point there.

"But voodoo can go both ways," I said. "Left-wing voodoo got the President; right-wing voodoo got me."

"Either that," she said, rapping her knuckles on my cast, "or once again you both just screwed up. But tell me again about the nurse and what she did with the catheter." Then she hums a few bars of the Sinatra and laughs out loud. She's an evil woman.


Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.

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