Just when you think things are bad, they seem to get worse in New Jersey.

We have passed more than 300 days since we were told to lockdown for "15 days to stop the spread". At first, we were told to stay home in order to lower the transmission of the virus so our hospitals and medical teams could treat everyone who got sick. We were shown packed emergency rooms, mainly in Italy, where the virus was said to be so out of control that millions across the globe would perish. Military hospitals were brought into the state and politicians screamed about the need for tens of thousands of ventilators. By the end of April, it was clear that most of the beds and equipment would not be needed. The patient load hit its peak in the Bronx on April 7th when admissions fell below discharges, deaths and transfers.

In New Jersey, temporary hospitals were packed up after the governor and the hacks that surrounded him took the appropriate time for photo ops to show how competent and prepared they were. The Navy hospital ship, Comfort, sailed away from New York harbor after barely being used. After the initial 15 days to prevent an overrun that never happened, we were told we have to fight even harder against the viral "enemy". The governor became a crisis actor overnight, moving the goal from hospital beds to preventing deaths. Of course this came at a time to obviously distract us away from the fact that he and his team forced COVID patients back into long term care facilities causing the deaths of thousands of elderly patients who are the most vulnerable to respiratory illness.

When deaths slowed to a crawl and we saw the virus flatten out, the game changed yet again. This time it was mask mandates because even though the curve was flat and the viral season had essentially ended, we can't be too careful! This action had a terrible impact on our communities and families. People who were healthy and in no danger of dying or spreading the virus to vulnerable people were labeled as dangerous because there could be a possibility that you are a carrier and people could die! None of this was true of course, but people isolated and masked up, telling their kids to avoid their friends because they could be responsible for killing Grandma.

The isolation and masks dehumanized us and created a hostility among friends and families between those of us who can read the science understanding that the virus had a season and the masks do nothing to stop the spread and those who panicked, believing everything that the government told them, despite the inconsistencies and contradicting messages from officials. The hostilities which used to be reserved for social media have spilled out into grocery stores and gyms. Religious leaders and gym owners targeted by government officials for not following COVID protocols, regardless of how ridiculous and useless, became commonplace.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans are still out of work, tens of thousands of small businesses are in financial crisis and there is no end in sight. Now we're told we can't return to normal without 70% of the population getting vaccinated. Where does it end? Do you see what's happened? 15 days turned into no socializing, which turned into masks outside which turned into no positive tests which has now morphed into vaccines for all.

Look at how they militarized Washington DC and closed access to state capitols over the weekend. There are now more troops in DC than in Afghanistan. And the loyalty of these troops was actually called into question by a member of Congress. To make matters worse, the FBI is vetting those same troops. For what? To ask how they voted? These are armed troops, perhaps the vetting took place in boot camp before you gave them a weapon?

We were forced to vote through the mail instead of in person. Then we were told if we questioned it, we're called out as conspiracy theory followers and potentially dangerous...what? The entire northeastern United States is unrecognizable as a free Republic where small business and social culture can thrive and people can prosper. We are now at the fork in the road. States like Texas, Florida, South Dakota and many others are open for business, unmasked and acting like free Americans. The move out numbers showing that seven in ten moves are out of NJ answer the question as to which road most NJ residents will choose.

For me, I'm here to fight. I drew the line in the sand over the masks and have been fighting for the past 300+ days. Not gonna stop now. But let me be clear, I'm not running for governor in 2021, for a few reasons.

First of all, I intend to honor my contract at New Jersey 101.5 which runs more than a year past the election. Second, being on the mic enables me to continue to spread facts over fear to more than a million New Jerseyans who are being spoon fed lies and exaggerations from most of the media. Third, even electing a responsible governor in November won't solve the financial and social crisis in New Jersey. We need to start with fixing the opposition party.

Current legislators like Jon Bramnick, Tom Kean, Declan O'Scanlon have been useless if not complicit in the extended lockdown and should face aggressive primary challengers. Then we have to look at Democrats who oppose mandates like many of us, legislators like Jamel Holley, and support them in order to build a bipartisan coalition in Trenton. Once we have an actual two party system in the legislature, hopefully doable in two cycles in '21 and '23, then it's time to talk about who the right candidate will be in 2025.

NJ cannot be fixed in one election. We need at least three. To be very honest, I can't blame you if you don't want to wait that long. If we had young kids in public school, we'd be headed out too. But my wife and I are blessed to be able to be able to afford to stay and our kids are out of school, we're empty nesters when my son graduates high school this coming June. So I'm gonna fight. Fight for the state in which I grew up and raised my family. I'm gonna fight for the state which has offered so much in the past and now is only turning sour because of the politicians elected to lead.

Both parties are corrupt and morally bankrupt. But a third party is a non-starter. I will remain a Republican and continue to call out the feckless and complicit cowards on both sides of the aisle. If enough people are paying attention and believe we can turn NJ around, we're in for a rough ride over the next four years, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Let's just hope it's not a train. If you are staying anyway, kids, job, parents, etc, then join me in the fight. It's never too late to fight like hell for the place that we call home.

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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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