One of them, former WBZ photojournalist Nat Whittemore, referred to Charlie in the obituary that was aired Tuesday on WBZ-TV as a “man of high character.”
And it struck me that you don’t hear that word – character – being used much anymore.
When I think of character, I picture someone with strong moral standards and positive, appealing personal characteristics – someone like Charlie Austin, a warm, intelligent man with a strong commitment to family, faith and high professional standards.
And by that definition, we as a culture don’t put as much emphasis on character as we used to.
Popular culture doesn’t have much use for it – even the heroes you see in movies and on TV are often riddled with character flaws. That’s what makes them “interesting,” you see.
I don’t know when character stopped mattering in politics; even before Bill Clinton shattered the myth that voters cared about it, we had top political leaders with questionable character; we just didn’t know all the sordid details like we do today.
And on the internet, where abusiveness, vulgarity and hate reign supreme, character is a punch line at best.
But Charlie Austin’s life reminds us that character remains a focus for many of us.
And you have to ask yourself – what am I doing to ensure I’ll be remembered as someone of “high character” when I pass on?
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio.
Listen to Jon's commentary: