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Lessons from Charlie Doyle, An Honest Politician

Posted by Larry Doyle on December 16, 2009 6:37 AM |

Charles Robert Doyle

Charles Robert Doyle

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when nobody is looking.”

Charles Robert Doyle, my uncle and a true champion of the people, passed away this past Saturday evening. When thinking back on the life of Uncle Charles, the above quote quickly comes to mind. Is it mere coincidence or the power of providence that in sourcing that quote, I see it attributed to another true champion and an individual recently highlighted here at Sense on Cents, the great John Wooden. I was thrilled to write “Lessons From Coach Wooden”:

The measure of real value is whether something can stand the test of time. While certain individuals, products, or principles appreciate over time, others dim as time passes. Society also has a funny way of embracing new and valued concepts in an attempt to market and materialize definitions of happiness.

In the midst of the noise and volatility of our current financial market and economic landscape, I treasure those principles which are often overlooked and under-appreciated. These principles include: discipline, simplicity, selflessness, loyalty, drive, humility, relationships, integrity, love. While without being judgmental it is not difficult to identify individuals or situations lacking these timeless traits, how often are we able to identify individuals or situations embracing these characteristics?

This morning, I witnessed just such an individual. Who might that be? My favorite coach of all-time, John Wooden.

In the same spirit, Charles Robert Doyle also embodied the true greatness and essence of these aforementioned principles.

Charlie, a long time state representative, dedicated himself to serving others, especially the youth and elderly of his district in Boston. Over and above serving his constituents, Charlie also dedicated his life to protecting the unborn. Pandering? Self-dealing? Political gamesmanship? Sacrificing principle? All common traits amongst too many of our current politicians, but foreign concepts to Charlie.

What do they say of this giant? Let’s take a look and you can read the stuff of legends. The Boston Globe reports Charles Robert Doyle, 84; Represented West Roxbury in Massachusetts House:

Arthur Lewis, who served Jamaica Plain as a state representative and as a state senator, said Mr. Doyle was “a very honest politician’’ who was a good debater and well-liked in the Legislature.

“There were some guys that talked the talk; he walked the walk,’’ said Joseph F. Timilty, who was a state senator from 1972 to 1984. “He did his homework every day. He was very much misjudged as a one-issue guy because of his position on right to life. That was not the whole Charlie Doyle.’’

Ray Flynn, the former Boston mayor who also served for a time in the state Legislature, remembered Mr. Doyle for his religious faith and for his love of sports.

“Charlie was a very devout Catholic who was very loyal to his faith and his values,’’ Flynn said last night. “Charlie was a very committed, very strong national prolife leader. I don’t think there has been anyone else like him in this country.’’

Charlie fought tirelessly in defense of his principles. He fought no harder battle than defending the life of the unborn.

Regardless of your political viewpoints, my admiration for Charlie and men of his ilk is that they never sacrifice principle for personal gain. How many of our current  politicians can make that statement?

I was unaware of all the particulars of Charlie’s fight for the unborn, but a smile crossed my face this morning as I could picture him in the legislative arena. The Globe highlights:

During a debate on the bill in September 1977, according to a report in the Globe, Mr. Doyle likened then-Governor Michael S. Dukakis, who was opposed to the measure, to a modern King Herod of Judea, who ordered that infants under age 2 killed in an attempt to eliminate the threat of Jesus becoming the king of the Jews.

Charlie, thanks for the memories and the inspiration. You walked with giants and cast a very long shadow. We are all better for having known and loved you.

Rest in peace.


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