Just as much of America entered a pandemic-induced lockdown in March, Peter Hardin Jackson, son of the late US Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, has died at age 53 after a multi-year battle. against cancer.
But thanks to his widow, Laurie Werner, his Twitter feed lives on – in the same low-key, witty way that Peter Jackson played.
Many sons of politicians follow their fathers in electoral politics. Not Jackson. He was too humble and sarcastic, his curiosities too broad, to follow such a narrow path. But his friends found him brilliant and the most pleasant company one could keep.
Jackson spent the start of his career trying out screenwriting in Los Angeles before returning to Washington State and working on environmental issues, as well as writing speeches for two governors, Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire. .
He hit his stride once he moved full-time into the journalistic field, first on the Pacific Northwest Crosscut news website, and then as editor of the editorial page of the ‘Everett Daily Herald, the leading newspaper in his family’s longtime hometown.
As Jackson has been battling cancer since 2016, after enduring countless rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, Laurie said her descent into death “was very rapid,” adding, “We decided on March 11 to stop all treatment and he died 10 days later so we didn’t have a chance to seriously think about whether he wanted me to resume his treatment. [Twitter] feed it or remove it.
Not that she hadn’t tried to discuss it with him.
“I kept pissing him off before he got super sick. I thought to myself, “I should have your passwords; mine are all in this place, ”she said. “But it’s not organized that way. But luckily for me, he just connected everything on his computer [when he died], so I just went in and changed the passwords for Instagram and Twitter. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t lose access to them.
Shortly after President Trump’s election, Jackson started retweeting his most bizarre tweets, accompanied by the comment “You are a madman”. In the months leading up to his death, he offered a more robust Trump commentary, but for the most part, “You are a fool” was the extent of that.
After Jackson’s death, Laurie noticed that some of her friends and followers started tweeting “You Are Mad” in tribute to her late husband. “I thought, ‘I could keep doing this,’ she said.
But she was feeling a little strange about it, so she asked a few of Jackson’s friends what they thought of her idea. “They were like, ‘You should do this.'”
She did so, never straying from the retweet pattern of a “You’re a fool” line.
Her husband’s ability to make political jokes was considerable and, she says, “we weren’t the same that way. Unlike the people who took over Herman Cain’s account, I don’t want to take over his platform, ”she said, referring to the former presidential candidate’s still active Twitter thread. “But I feel like Peter wants me to keep doing this.”
Laurie found her takeover of her late husband’s Twitter account therapeutic. (“I just like browsing it,” she says.) And while she’s stuck with her Trump one-sentence retweet format so far, she admits that “it’s tempting to do more. “.
Namely, when longtime Seattle political columnist Joel Connelly tweeted about Cain tweeting from the dead, Laurie “almost went over to Peter’s account and said,” So what’s your point ? “
Seely is a special correspondent