If nothing else, 2017 has been a great year for opining. The following excerpts are from Star Tribune opinion articles ranked by highest online readership this year. To read the commentaries in their entirety, go to http//startribune.com/opinion and use the embedded links.
1. "No sympathy here for that airline passenger," by Bob Gust, a lawyer living in Bloomington.
While the world rages against United Airlines, I am outraged by the selfishness of the passenger removed from a plane in the much-discussed incident — and by the lack of critical thinking among everyone else.
2. "Racial identity politics are ruining Edina's fabled schools," by Katherine Kersten, senior policy fellow, Center of the American Experiment.
In place of academic excellence for all, the district's primary mission is now to ensure that students think correctly on social and political issues — most important, on race and "white privilege."
3. "A Minneapolis tale for those who downplay white privilege," by Richard G. Carlson, of Minneapolis, a retired assistant public defender.
If you're white and have a 13-year-old son, do you imagine he could end up facing five armed cops and a police dog because you told him it was OK to go down the block and knock on his friend's door on a sunny Saturday afternoon in May?
4. "There's no reason to buy '13 Reasons Why' imagery," by Lauren Abdill, of Minneapolis, a crisis counselor and master of social work student at the University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine University.
So parents of teens, I beg you: Talk to your kids about suicide. Talk to them about "13 Reasons Why." Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's number in their phone.
5. "After Minneapolis police shooting of Justine Damond, it's time to decide who runs this town," by Richard G. Carlson, of Minneapolis, a retired assistant public defender.
For the record, I want it to be known that I object to being policed this way. As between the Minneapolis Police Department and the civilian authorities in my town, it is the civilians who must be in control.
6. "With $15 wage in Minneapolis, say goodbye to full-service restaurants," by Charles Lodge, an owner of Ginger Hop Restaurant in Minneapolis.
If you have never pored over your books and lain awake at night wondering how you are going to make payroll, then you don't understand how this restaurant game works.
7. "Downtown Minneapolis once was a great place to live. No more," by Carter Averbeck, of Minneapolis, reprinted from City Pages.
When I moved into the Warehouse District of Minneapolis in 2000, my dream of a wonderful home in the heart of the city came true. But in recent years, all that had been idyllic has changed.
8. "We took major heat for backing Trump; here's what we think now," by Gary Abernathy, publisher and editor of the (Hillsboro, Ohio) Times-Gazette.
I thought our endorsement of Donald Trump for president last year seemed innocuous enough. Then someone said to me, "Did you see that Rachel Maddow mentioned the Times-Gazette last night?"
9. "The sad truth behind the congested mess on Twin Cities roads," by John Hinderaker, president of the Center of the American Experiment.
The reality is that no matter how much money we spend on trains — an obsolete, 19th-century technology — they will never make more than a minor contribution toward the area's transportation needs.
10. "Impeach President Trump? Nah. But invoke the 25th Amendment? Hmm ...," by Marshall H. Tanick, a Twin Cities constitutional law attorney.
In the campaign, and ever since, President Donald Trump has often promised that things soon would be different. This may be the occasion to try, for the first time, a temporary hiatus under the 25th Amendment that would allow him some time off.
11. "Counterpoint: Edina Schools: To this white male, there's no 'culture of intimidation,' " by Charles Heinecke, a junior at Edina High School.
I don't understand how it is a bad thing to teach young students that diversity is important. This is especially true in Edina.
12. "This must be the place: The star power of St. Louis Park," by Richard Harris, a freelance writer living in Bethesda, Md.
St. Louis Park seemed too good to be true — civic-minded, education-centered and "Minnesota nice" — so I decided I had to make the journey Alexis de Tocqueville missed to see for myself.
13. "A farewell to skyways: The case for bringing them down," by Eric Dayton, co-owner of businesses in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.
We're a 2017 city living with 1967 urban-design thinking, and it's not working for us anymore.
14. "Here's something for Democrats to meditate upon," by D.J. Tice, Star Tribune commentary editor and columnist.
Ours is a best-of-times, worst-of-times era for American liberalism. I've seen the contradictions up close in recent weeks.
15. "Seven ways liberals must realign with Middle America," by Doug R. Berdie, of Minneapolis, a semiretired marketing executive and researcher.
I'm distressed by how little liberal activists seem to have learned from recent election results.
16. "The real history of Mount Rushmore," by Ron Way, of Edina, a former official of the U.S. Interior Department and its National Park Service.
Some see the monument in the Black Hills as one of the spoils of violent conquest over indigenous tribes by a U.S. Army clearing the way for white settlers driven westward by a lust for land and gold.
17. "Editorial endorsement: Jacob Frey for Minneapolis mayor," by the Star Tribune Editorial Board.
At age 36 and still serving his first term, Jacob Frey is a gifted communicator who has stood out on the City Council as both a leading voice and a consensus-builder.