Without fail, when I get the chance to feature another young conservative in this series, I revel in the opportunity. So when I asked Gabriella (“Gabby”) Hoffman if I could profile her, I was pleased that she granted my request. Had I been aware of the profuse flurry of conservative movement causes in which she is involved, while also attending college full-time, I might have exercised a bit more pause! Then again, not really. Those busily engaged in worthwhile efforts often have a compelling story to tell. Gabby is no exception to that rule.
At a very youthful age, Gabby possesses remarkable drive and passion, and she channels it directly towards endeavors that contribute to freedom. As a child of European immigrants and a grandchild of those who suffered under a totalitarian regime, she understands the stakes in a vivid manner that relatively few of us can grasp. (Is it possible that those Americans just a generation or two removed from tortuous tyranny may yet prove the salvation of our nation?)
Gabby reflects the attractive combination of dogged refusal to accept the status quo, accompanied by a sunny demeanor and cheerful smile. She is a happy warrior who intuitively comprehends the Churchillian maxim that there is no substitute for victory. May her number greatly increase!
I’ll be watching Gabby Hoffman in the years to come. My wager is that her casual assertion levied in response to my final question pans out just as she expects.
10 Questions for Gabriella Hoffman
1. We haven’t yet met and I’m always especially interested in the biographical backgrounds of friends whom I’ve not had the pleasure of talking to in person. Are you originally from Europe or have you lived in the United States your whole life?
Alas, I was not born in Lithuania as some people think. I was born and raised in Orange County, California, and interestingly enough, was the first person in my immediate family to be born in this country. My parents fled the Baltic Republic in question in 1985 and came to the U.S. in 1986 in search of a better life. I’m proud to call myself an unhyphenated American, although I embrace my Eastern European heritage. My dad is ethnically Jewish, and my mom is Lithuanian and Russian.
Compared to growing up in Lithuania like my parents did, I grew up in the freest nation in the world. I had the privilege of living by the beach, growing up with Disneyland, and enjoying the endless sunshine. I am proud to be a Californian, despite how much I detest our current governor, the California Teachers Association, and union thugocracy plaguing this state.
I’m proud of my accomplishments thus far in life. In high school, I was an AP Scholar, semi-finalist for the Titan of the Year Award, varsity and junior varsity tennis player, and National Honor Society member. I graduated in 2009 with a 4.4 GPA and hundreds of community service hours under my belt. I did a lot of philanthropy work in Coto de Caza (think Real Housewives of Orange County) as an advice columnist for teens and as a youth volunteer with Coto Community Activities Network. Additionally, I worked with a nonprofit called Working Wardrobes, which helped displaced people (U.S. servicemen, low-income families, orphans, homeless people, etc) get back into the workforce without any governmental assistance. I would say that my proudest moment was throwing a Christmas party for a local orphanage in nearby Trabuco Canyon. My father dressed up as Santa Claus, while the rest of my family helped out. We held a school-wide drive to collect clothing, toys, and other items to give to the kids. It was miraculous and equally amazing that we had 20+ volunteers to make this event a success.
I’ve remained unapologetic ally conservative and continue to do the same in college. Thus far, I served as the past president of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at UCSD and a columnist and board member of UCSD’s conservative paper “The California Review,” among many things. Outside of university, my involvement extends to Eagle Forum of San Diego (where I serve as the Director of College Outreach), The Rick Amato Show (Executive Assistant), Young America’s Foundation (Sarah T. Hermann Intern – Summer 2010 at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara), Ann and Phelim Media, LLC (New Media Intern), and Restoring Courage U.S. (Co-Founder).
Additionally, I’m a columnist for “The Washington Times Communities” and for the Landmark Report. I also maintain my own blog and blog for San Diego Rostra, the College Fix, and other sites.
2. It’s been a little while since I interviewed a young conservative. How early in life did you know you were one and how did it come about?
I’ve been a conservative since birth; I simply had no other choice.
My maternal grandfather was imprisoned in a gulag at the Belomor Canal, which lies on the Finnish-Russian border. Belonging to any religious faith in Soviet Russia was frowned upon. As a result, my grandpa’s Catholic beliefs landed him there. He and my maternal grandmother were in German and Russian labor camps throughout their lives. They had very tough lives and had to make many sacrifices. My dad’s side of the family similarly suffered persecution from Nazis and Communists. My paternal grandmother’s father was a prisoner of war fighting for the Soviets, and was later killed by Germans for being Jewish. Other relatives had been killed in the Holocaust. Additionally, when my dad and his family lived in Lithuania (then U.S.S.R.), they faced virulent anti-Semitism. If you were Jewish, you were taunted and discriminated against.
My family history compelled me to be conservative. Hearing about the harsh lifestyles and treatment my relatives faced the USSR under an oppressive, statist, and Marxist regime consolidated my belief that capitalism and freedom best ensure happiness. My grandparents would be spinning in their graves if I sympathized with such a pervasive system that exploited them. Communism and socialism are antithetical to human nature. In my mind, conservatism connotes freedom, while liberalism connotes tyranny.
3. You’re currently interning for my friends Phelim McAleer & Ann McElhinney. How is it going so far?
Indeed I am! I’ve known about Ann and Phelim’s work ever since I was an intern at Young America’s Foundation last summer. I admire what they do to expose ‘global warming’ hysteria, especially from the educational angle, and thought I could be a great asset to them.
I’ve been working for them since May, and it’s going well. I work on projects ranging from expanding social media following on Facebook/Twitter to blog posts to other tasks. When school picks up again, I’ll help out with blog posts, speaking engagements, and connecting college students with Ann and Phelim.
4. How did you decide where to go to college and what is your major?
When I was applying for college, I thought I would get into an Ivy League school or similar institution of higher learning. I knew I was capable of getting into one since I had a 4.4 GPA, a stellar volunteer record, decent SAT decent score, and membership in the National Honor Society. Then I learned that I didn’t get into any of these ‘prestigious’ schools. Instead, I chose to go to school in La Jolla, a San Diego suburb that’s an hour away from home.
I entered UC-San Diego in Fall 2009, and will be graduating in June 2012. I’m studying political science and minoring in history. I juggle academics with campus journalism, and contribute to The California Review—UCSD’s conservative journal. In my freshman year of college, I brought David Horowitz to UCSD to talk about Israel and Islamofascism. That famous exchange between him and the female Muslim Student Association member landed on Fox News and the conservative blogosphere. I look forward to finishing my collegiate career by bringing speakers like Jason Mattera, S.E. Cupp and/or Ann Coulter to shake things up on campus. I also want to cover more stories, events, and bias on campus before I graduate next year.
5. What would you offer as your favorites in the following categories: Books, Musical Artists, Movies, Foods and a couple other fields of interest?
Books: Anything by Ann Coulter (particularly Guilty), Obama Zombies by Jason Mattera, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas and God and Men at Yale by William F. Buckley. I have so many more books to read by conservative authors!
Musical Artists: My taste in music is pretty eclectic. Favorite genres include classical, rock, pop, jazz, and R&B. In particular, I like music from The Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Natasha Bedingfield, Five for Fighting, David Guetta, Adele, The Saturdays, Louis Armstrong, Beethoven, Mozart, Dvorak, Chopin, and similar artists.
Movies: I like Meet Joe Black, the Harry Potter series, Pirates of the Caribbean, 27 Dresses, Adam Sandler films, in particular. There are too many films to list!
Foods: I used to be a picky eater until I discovered how delectable certain foods were. I especially like Eastern European (i.e. Red beet salad, perogis (dumplings), potatoes, cow tongue, blood sausage), Peruvian, American, and Italian food. I can eat anything but Indian.
Sports: I enjoy watching and playing tennis, volleyball, and ping pong. I don’t mind basketball either! And most girls would shriek at the sight of a fellow female fishing, especially deep-sea fishing. I enjoyed fishing as a kid and still love it!
6. Are you officially on the “Michele Bachmann for President” train and do you like any of the other candidates?
As of right now, I’m on Team Bachmann. She’s been working tirelessly in Congress to help fix problems in Washington, D.C. She’s smart, articulate, and keeps the Republican establishment on their toes. If Bachmann doesn’t win the nomination, I’d be content with Rick Perry if he decides to run. We need someone in the White House who loves this country, especially someone who wants to reform our government—not a president who takes pride in radically transforming America.
7. Besides Ronald Reagan, who are 3 other conservatives who inspire you today as a young person joining the movement?
The three figures that have influenced my conservatism are my father, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck.
Like President Obama, I have a ‘spiritual advisor’: my father. He is the person who triggered my interest in politics. Ever since I was a kid, we talked about issues and problems in society. He would draw from experiences in Lithuania and parallel them to the present day. Interestingly enough, my father predicted many things that occurred in our nation long before many Americans realized them. I thank my dad for encouraging me to be a conservative activist.
I look to Ann Coulter as another inspiration. She is a great female role model. I like that she has the audacity to tell the truth. Like Coulter, I want to write, make appearances, and speak at college campuses in the future. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Richard M. Nixon Library here in February 2009 while she was on tour for Guilty. I appreciate her contributions to the Conservative Movement, and always enjoy her commentary.
Glenn Beck is another commentator I look up to. After being troubled by alcoholism, Beck felt inclined to become a better individual. As a result, he decided to positively impact this nation through radio and T.V. Beck says many ‘unpopular’ things, but is confident that his message inspires people to be activists. He inspired the 912 Project, Tea Party Movement, and facilitated a return to normalcy. It is undeniable that Glenn Beck says the truth and is a force to be reckoned with.
8. I’d like to turn the tables for one question and hear what a young person has to say about this: What do you feel is the most unviable aspect of liberalism?
I will be bold and say that the most unviable aspect of liberalism is how antithetical it is to human nature. Whether it is the destruction of capitalism, the overhaul of healthcare (ObamaCare, socialized healthcare), satisfying union interests, or instituting political correctness, leftists want to destroy America, her principles, her laws, her sacred documents, and her traditions. Undeniably, leftists prefer chaos, enjoy fabricating class warfare, and want to silence any opposition to their cause. Obama’s agenda will put our nation on the path to communism unless he’s defeated in 2012.
9. Are you a person of faith and does it play a significant role in your life?
Religion is a sensitive thing to discuss, as many are quick to judge me for not being devoutly religious. Yet, I think as I grow older, I believe I’ll become more religious. My dad is a secular Jew, while my mom is a devout Catholic. Religion is a facet that has made this country great, providing the foundation for morals, laws, and values. I believe there is a God, but due to my interesting situation, I have not coveted such an interest yet. I look forward to reading Biblical works when time affords.
10. What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
I’m 20 now, so by the time I am 30 years old, I’d like to be married, have a syndicated column, appear on Fox News as a commentator, and work as a grassroots activist in the Tea Party Movement. I’m confident these opportunities will come my way in the near future.