Tiana Elisara is the current President and Founder of the Turning Point USA chapter at the University of Hawaii. She kindly sat down with Turning Point News at the Conservative Political Action Conference in late February to talk about her fascinating background in politics.
Elisara revealed how her university professors and main stream media sources indoctrinated her beliefs. She was the spearhead of the Anti-Trump rally in Hawaii in 2017, only to turn to conservatism upon discovering Turning Point USA.
In a follow-up interview with Turning Point News, Elisara opened up further about both her anti-Trump past and her present commitment to the conservative movement.
Growing up, Elisara was never interested in politics, local or national. It was not until the 2016 presidential election that she took place in a rather interesting political debate. Just like many other young politicos, Elisara’s version of politics consisted of posting and reposting memes and news articles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
“I felt so PASSIONATE about it – all my favorite CELEBRITIES, social sites, professors were talking about how bad [conservatives] are.”
Elisara said she did not truly know why she or her peers were angry; she was taught that every value conservatives stand for was against her personal and cultural beliefs. “I come from a family of immigrants, and even though I was born here, I felt that [the hatred] would trickle down to me,” she told Turning Point News.
“The ENVIRONMENT on my college campus was very hostile.”
During this time, Elisara explains that she did not know or understand the difference between ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal.’ Her peers, professors, and news outlets were not teaching the meanings behind the talking points that persuaded so many young people like herself.
“It was not until the Anti-Trump rally that I had to double-take and really evaluate where my morals stood and what my beliefs were,” said Elisara. “After the rally, I took a break and fell to the wayside.”
When asked about why she took a leave from the indoctrinated belief system, she unfolded her awakening moment. While at the rally, a conservative man approached her and asked her a few questions:
“The first one was, ‘why are you mad?’ And I regurgitated everything that I’d ever heard. The second was, ‘what specific policy are you talking about?’ And I couldn’t answer… I was so passionate, but I was so confused as to why I couldn’t elaborate in any detail why I was leading this rally.”
Just as the professors at her university could not explain why conservatives are vile, Elisara could not elucidate why she was protesting conservatives.
“If I’m going to [think this way], I need to figure out why.”
It was then that Elisara began to explore the basics of her ideologue and the principles that guided the conservative movement. She researched history and self-educated herself in civics, economics, and government.
“The more I did my research, the more conservatism made sense to me.”
“It was kind of disgusting that the way the media and culture have embedded such strong quote-on-quote truths that were just absolute, blatant lies,” Elisara continued. “It’s kind of manipulation, in a sense.”
Upon this realization, she looked towards online forums for advice. She posted in a Facebook group, admitting that she was starting to question which set of ideals she stood for, whether conservative, liberal, or anything in-between. To her surprise, Sophia Witt, TPUSA’s Director of Israel Affairs, responded and invited her to the 2018 Young Women’s Leadership Conference.
Elisara, while at the conference, felt disconnected from the attendees and introduced herself to a tall man by saying, “I don’t really know what I’m doing here.” That man turned out to be Charlie Kirk, TPUSA’s President and founder.
“The level of humility, welcoming, and warmth [charlie kirk] had drew me to turning point.”
“Everyone was so open minded at the conference,” she elaborated. “They even said ‘if you’re [on the Left], and you’re sitting here, welcome – we’re welcome to ideas.'”
But meeting Charlie Kirk was not the only thing that convinced Elisara to join TPUSA. “I distinctly remember the energy in the room when [Charlie] asked, ‘who in here has been bullied because of their views?,'” she recalled. “Almost the entire room’s hands shot up.”
She felt embraced because every attendee was fighting for each other’s viewpoints – every member of TPUSA is an individual’s support system, she explained.
“They talk about the left being inclusive – no, no way… because [conservatives] agree PROBABLY as much as we disagree, but everybody at these Turning point events loves this country and wants to see it rise.”
Elisara’s YWLS experience was in June of 2018. It impacted her ideologue so much so, she founded the TPUSA chapter at the University of Hawaii in fall of 2018. From the conservative speakers to the conservative students, Elisara felt welcomed and wanted to spread her newly found ideas.
“[Liberalism] is like a pair of blacked-out sunglasses: As soon as you take them off and you’re able to see what’s around you, you’re trying to warn everyone else who has that blindness.”
“If you talk to these [students], they all have the same slang words and lingo,” said the chapter president. “If you get below that, they can’t talk about it.”
Elisara says that she now feels a sense of responsibility to shed light for others on the topics that she was in the dark about. Since the chapter’s founding, at the beginning of the 2018 fall semester, Elisara has tabled weekly, making the chapter’s presence known.
In total, the University of Hawaii has recruited nearly 400 students, with upwards of 50 active students per meeting.
“[Students] are looking for different opinions, and Turning Point gives me the platform to communicate with these people.”
Elisara finds that due to her weekly activism recruitment, conservative students on campus are willing to participate and be vocal more often. “The people on the left, who were once hostile and thought they could run the campus, are a little quieter… we now hold them accountable, we question what they say.”
Elisara believes that her enrollment rate is high because she was once in the shoes of the confused, struggling student: “I can understand their frustration.”
“I’ll raise my ‘Socialism Sucks’ sign, and I can see that it just doesn’t register with them.”
Still, however, Elisara states that when her chapter tables on campus or holds events, students will yell at them, calling them “racist” or “token minorities.” She attests to the severity of the lack of free-thinking and indoctrination that is present on the University of Hawaii’s quad: “Professors that come up to my table are nine-out-of-ten times very against my message.”
She confirmed that when Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens visited the campus last fall, protesters were at hand, resentful signs were made, and students were upset.
Additionally, a petition recently surfaced from students to remove the chapter from campus (the petition was not recognized by the university; therefore, no action was taken), and there is evidence that advertising for events (i.e. fliers) have been torn down.
Nevertheless, her chapter continues to bring in local, conservative speakers monthly and has held 2 large TPUSA events with a third approaching in early April. According to Elisara, the chapter is constantly growing and taking on a larger role in campus life.
“[Turning Point USA] is the breathe of fresh air that students are desperately trying to breathe.”
For Tiana Elisara, Turning Point USA has given her a greater appreciation for America. “I’ve always been taught that America wants nothing more than to oppress me,” she said. “Going to [TPUSA events], really learning the truth… where they educate me, not tell me what to think, so I can make my own decisions, is a beautiful thing.”
“The number one reason I love going to tpusa events is because it makes me confident that i’m not alone.”
“It makes me feel that there are people out there that hold the same values as I do,” Elisara expressed strongly. Even more so, she values the fact that Turning Point USA financially aids students who attend their events. “It shows they actually care about [the students] and the work they’re doing,” she said.
— Tiana Elisara (@LeftTheLeftShow) November 30, 2018
Elisara contributes her success and progress to TPUSA, saying one of her most-liked slogans of TPUSA is “I’m A Victor, Not A Victim”: “On the left, I was prided in that mentality of being a victim – I wore that on my sleeves as something that was defining me.”
Turning Point USA changed her mentality, giving her the tools she needs to succeed.
“I don’t think conservatism is a political IDEOLOGY. I’ve come to believe that conservatism is the way you live your life.”
Elisara explains that through Turning Point USA, the morals she has, her outlook on life, and the responsibility she undertakes has all changed for the better. “If more young people were to shift to conservatism, I think that would be a great shift for society,” she told Turning Point News.
“I hope more people can turn [to TPUSA] because it was probably the best decision of my life.”
Today, Elisara is the host of The #LeftTheLeft Show and hopes to follow in Charlie Kirk’s footsteps and the footsteps of every American who carried out their American Dream: form a vision of future success, work hard, and become someone that future generations can look up to.