Two days ago, one of our local students Josh Johnson went missing. That afternoon a flyer was posted on Facebook and passed around to local businesses. On Saturday as I drove up to Dayton, I caught a glimpse of a digital billboard displaying information about him and the car he was last seen driving. That evening, a community vigil was held at the Springboro High School where hundreds were reported to be in attendance. Some hopeful news was tweeted on Sunday, just moments ago, that a black Honda Civic with temporary tags was seen on Lower Springboro Road, though we’ve yet to receive any further confirmation.
While the community support for Josh and his family has been truly remarkable to witness, what is even more powerful is how the community has managed to rise above partisan politics and banded together in order to bring him home safely. In fact, it almost seems ludicrous to insinuate that politics would play any role in this story apart from being used as a campaign tactic. And yet we see the story of another Springboro resident waving the Confederate flag competing for attention across the social media streams, distracting us from focusing on our children.
Crazy as it sounds, I continue to believe that politics have no place in government. Let the politicians sell you a bill of goods in order to convince you that their policies help protect our children, but when it comes to enacting legislation the government should be agnostic. In simplest terms, the government is a tool that citizens use to build our community. This is not limited to voting every few years at the ballot box nor does its authority rest in the hands of our elected leaders. The tool must be made openly available to every tax paying citizen so that we can collectively act on matters of common interest: in this case, bringing Josh home.
As the search continues, I hope that these examples of how the community is working with businesses to post a billboard and flyers, with public schools and churches to host vigils, and with social media to share information; I hope these examples serve as a lesson to our elected leaders on how to build a community by leveraging its most important asset: it’s people.
Come home safe, Josh.