In an interview for a documentary “Battle Flag,” Virginia resident Karen Cooper described why she joined the Virginia Flaggers, a group that defends the rebel flag against those who “worship ignorance, historical revisionism and political correctness.”
Cooper, who found the flagging group through her activism in the Tea Party, explained the Confederate flag symbolizes a movement away from big government.
“I actually think that it represents freedom,” she said in an interview for “Battle Flag,” a documentary project about the flag. “It represents a people who stood up to tyranny.”
The interview comes amid a national discussion about the flag’s meaning — and vocal calls to remove it from government buildings after a rebel flag-supporter shot and killed nine people in a historical black church.
Cooper, a New York native who later settled in Virginia, brushed off the flag’s history in slavery, explaining that oppression is not exclusive to the Confederate.
“I’m not advocating slavery or think that it was right. It wasn’t and none of my friends think it was. It was just something that happened. It didn’t just happen in the South — it happened worldwide.”
Besides, “slavery was a choice,” she added, because slaves had a choice to die.
“And I say that because of what Patrick Henry said: ‘Give me liberty, or give me death.’ If we went back to that kind of slavery — no I couldn’t do it. Give me death,” she explained.
If anything, slavery is still alive today, she claimed.
“I feel I’m a slave now because the federal government does control me. I can’t smoke what I want to smoke. I can’t drink what I want to drink. If I want to put something into my body, it’s my body, not theirs,” she said. “That’s tyranny!”
So Cooper will keep waving the Confederate flag alongside other Virginia Flaggers and will keep preaching the group’s mission to peacefully “protest those who have attacked us, our flags, our ancestors or our heritage.”
“I know what people think about when they see the battle flag: the KKK, racism, bringing slavery back. So I knew it would be something for people to see a black woman with the battle flag,” she said.
“How can it be racist if I’m out there with them?” she added.