30 top takes of 2017

(CNN)In a year dominated by the beginning of the Trump presidency, readers came to CNN Opinion looking for insight into the man occupying the highest office in the land. But Donald Trump's many actions and tweets weren't the only subjects of interest. Stories of racism and white supremacist groups, workplace sexual harassment, freedom of the press and a series of horrific natural disasters attracted your attention, too.

Here are excerpts from a selection of some of the most popular opinion pieces of 2017.

David Axelrod: I woke up this morning as an alternative fact

January 31
    David Axelrod
    I woke up this morning as an alternative fact.
    In justifying the appointment of Steve Bannon, the President's chief strategist, to the National Security Council, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer cited my role in the Obama White House as a precedent. Spicer said press secretary Robert Gibbs and I attended classified National Security Council meetings "all the time."
    That is simply not true.
    As a senior adviser to President Obama in 2009, I had the opportunity to witness the fateful deliberations of his National Security Council Principals committee over the strategy the United States would pursue in the war with al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    I was not a member of the committee. I did not speak or participate. I sat on the sidelines as a silent observer with Gibbs because we would be called upon to publicly discuss the President's decision on that critical matter and the process by which he arrived at it.
    Read more here.

    Dean Obeidallah: Donald Trump's most bone-chilling tweet

    February 6
    Dean Obeidallah
    Here is Trump's truly jaw-dropping tweet from Saturday morning: "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!"
    Why is this so concerning? It's OK to argue about whether the judge should or shouldn't have issued this order. But Trump is apparently attempting to delegitimize our federal judiciary by calling Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush-appointed judge, a "so-called" judge while arguing that his decision is "ridiculous."
    Let's be blunt, because the stakes demand it: An independent federal judiciary is our last, best hope at preventing Trump from violating the US Constitution and illegally grabbing power. And Trump has to understand that, hence his attempt to undermine it.
    Read more here.

    George Takei: On this Remembrance Day, I hear terrible echoes of the past

    February 19
    George Takei
    I was just a child of 5 when soldiers marched up our driveway in a Los Angeles residential neighborhood, bayonets in hand, and pounded on our front door, ordering us out. We were permitted only what we could carry, no bedding, no pets.
    I remember my mother's tears as she and our father gathered us up, with our precious few belongings in hand. She was determined to bring a sewing machine, fearful that we would need to make or mend clothes where we were headed. She wasn't sure the authorities would allow her to take that Singer machine, so she kept it a secret, even from us. She managed, however, to pack a few treats for us children for the long journey ahead.
    That was in 1942. Earlier that year, on February 19, 75 years ago yesterday, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order, No. 9066, which set the internment into motion.
    Read more here.

    Peter Bergen: Why the 'mother of all bombs' and why now?

    April 13