I had the chance to speak with Mayor Ronnie just on the heels of Governor Bentley’s visit to Athens on Monday, October 15th. Mayor Marks attended the event, which was held at the Center for Lifelong Learning, and sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the Governor’s visit was to discuss the importance of passing Amendment 2 in the upcoming election. Amendment 2 would change Alabama’s constitution so that if interest rates go down, debts carried by the state could be refinanced at a lower rate, much like one’s personal mortgage. Amendment 2 would free up revenue for economic development.
Yesterday was the day our Mayor had us “Paint The Town Pink.” He made a proclamation setting October 18th as the date we would all wear pink, say the word pink, or mention the Pink Elephant Mammogram Scholarships to show support for those who have been afflicted by breast cancer. By doing so when we went to Chick-fil-a, the franchise on Hwy 72 donated part of its proceeds to help in the fight. There was also a Pink Elephant Day luncheon held at the Limestone County Event Center, and in all, Athens is turning out in force all year long to fight cancer.
Most folks are aware that Mayor Ronnie is a Vietnam veteran, and active in the local veterans’ community. He is hoping that there will be a solid showing of support for our vets of all branches by attending the Veterans’ Day parade to be held on Saturday, November 3rd.
Most often when we get together every two weeks for his interview, he tells me about something that inspired him at church, or a book, scripture or devotional that spoke to him in his ongoing quest to become a better man and a better Mayor. This time he had two things. One had to do with the concept of interdependence. It says the following:
“Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make. Dependent people cannot choose to become interdependent. They don’t have the character to do it; they don’t own enough of themselves.”
Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People, pg 290
I thought about that for a while, and normally I would think that owning oneself would stand in the way of moving toward interdependence, but then we concluded that if you don’t have yourself in the first place, there’s no way you can give yourself away in the right way for your own good or the good of others.
Then he moved to another reflection on pg 31 from the same book. Ironically, it was a quote by Thoreau, and a good one, no less. It said:
“For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root.”
Covey went on to comment on Thoreau’s statement by saying:
“We can only achieve quantum improvements in our lives as we quit hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior, and get to work on the root, the paradigms from which our attitudes and behaviors flow.”
Whether the “leaves” are the evil of cancer, or effects of our immaturity or lower nature, I for one am glad that we have a Mayor who wants to go for the root, and that is one of the many things that makes Ronnie roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner