How's this for a rationalization for procrastination: the press and our collective attentions easily move on from issues that are worth revisiting from time to time. So on occasion I'll do so on this blog.
Quite simply, I have no patience for the "whiny, overpaid athletes should stop their protests and do what they're paid to do" response to the national anthem protests inspired by 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. If people with power and a platform won't stick up for the downtrodden and oppressed, who will? It is precisely because they are where they are that they should protest. Would that more powerful people used their platforms to fight injustice.
Concerning the means of protest, people have taken to the rhetorical move of claiming that disrespecting the national anthem is something like a direct insult to military veterans. To which the reply should be that if we want to do something before sports games that directly praises and thanks men and women who have bravely served our country, we should collectively think of a way to do so and settle on one. (We should also do more to prevent our leaders from sending them to kill and die in unnecessary wars--but that topic would take us too far afield).
At least Kaepernick et al do not claim that there shouldn't be national anthems, so I'll do them one better. Healthy, free societies should not have sacred symbols, like flags and anthems, that are supposed to be above reproach and that stifle criticism and dissent. Such symbols are essentially idols demanding obeisance, which is anathema to the proper cultivation and respect for the collective use of reason that is necessary to the establishment and maintenance of free societies. There are few exercises of freedom as reinforcing and enriching of a society's "operating level of freedom" as brave dissent that calls for reform in the face of injustice. Exercises of piety and fealty toward symbols achieve the opposite.
Celebrating our ideals and historical efforts at moving closer to them can be achieved in other ways. Let there be a plethora of celebratory and thanksgiving songs, poems, stories, and works of art to be read, sung, viewed, and cheered. before public events. Let us celebrate those who fought for freedom at home as well as abroad. Let our songs celebrate our achievements rather than worship flags. Let us have moments of silence for those who have died in the struggle for freedom (again, at home as well as abroad). Let us have moments of silence for the injustices that continue to haunt our society and keep us estranged from our ideals. Let us acknowledge those whose freedoms have been denied via fear, prejudice, tradition, exploitation. These would be the practices of healthy societies actively working for the achievement of full freedom for all.