Mame – you may have known her

Mame Reilly was a democratic activist who cared deeply about the issues and the causes that make a civilization and enrich and sustain a people and she made a difference touching and leading so many political campaigns and inspiring so many pols and people.

Her time was too short.

This remarkable lady has died but I can see her broad smile as if she were standing before me right now ribbing Jim Moran.

It is an Irish curse, Yeats said, to dream things the world has never seen. Mame Reilly dreamed and acted upon those dreams, the unfinished American dream, and, because of her belief, of her belief that things needed to change, she helped make those changes for the middle class, for women, for persons of color, for so many who needed a fair break.

Mame was also a nice and kind person with a gentle way in a hard business, politics, the business she did best.

When I left the Hill in December 2001, after 9-11, I was spoiled for politics. Mame sensed I needed a cause to get me going again. That’s how she was with every one.

When we all worked in the presidential campaign in 2008, Mame always seemed to be within two degrees of separation of anything you might be doing in that historic primary and the general election campaign. We had a battle between two great Americans in the primary that defied the conventional wisdom that no black or woman would or could become president.

Mame was loyal and good and true as only the Irish can be.

There’s a harp playing an Irish jig in her honor in memory of this great lady.

I can hear her humming that Irish tune.

Mame, how we all loved you!