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Editorial: Attacks crossed a major line

On Saturday, a group of about 25 protesters appeared on the sidewalk in Bexley, a small suburb of Ohio.

The group, who opposes the shutdown and stay at home orders surrounding the coronavirus, took their anger to a residential neighborhood where Dr. Amy Acton, the director of Ohio’s Department of Health, lives.

Gov. DeWine took issue with their move in his news briefing on Monday. He said, as the elected official put in office by voters, he is the one responsible and protests should be directed at him.

“I set the policy,” DeWine said. “The buck stops with me.”

And there is no rationale that justified going to an official’s home, which nowhere near the halls of government. It is intimidation, plain and simple.

Acton has become a particular target of those who try to downplay the threat of the coronavirus and have been clamoring for reopenings and the attacks on her are being inspired by certain extremist elected officials.

One senator, Andrew Brenner, R-19, and his wife, disgustingly used a social media post to compare the health orders issued by Acton, who is Jewish, to Hitler and concentration camps.

While Rep. Nino Vitale, R-85, a peculiar individual with a history of pushing conspiracy theories, attacked her as “a globalist,” a slur frequently used by anti-semites, and claimed she was running “a medical dictatorship.”

DeWine swiftly condemned both of these lawmakers for their appalling rhetoric.

As well he should, not only are they completely out of line, but Acton has worked tirelessly in the public interest.

Working with the governor, Acton saw to it that Ohio got an early start in fighting the pandemic and, as a result of the DeWine administration’s orders, the state has had great success in flattening the curve of infection and has not seen its hospitals overwhelmed, as was the case in New York City.

No one likes the shutdowns, but they are necessary. Acton’s foresight has been proven.

Rather than lambasting her, officials should be expressing how fortunate the state is to have her leadership during this crisis.