Most popular op-eds of 2018: A year of drama and disaster

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(CNN)In a year dominated by the Trump presidency and the run-up to the midterm elections, readers came to CNN Opinion looking for insight into the ongoing battles raging in Washington and across America. But politicians and policy divides weren't the only headline makers. Stories of gun violence, celebrity deaths, a royal wedding 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 2018.

Julian Zelizer: Obama's stern warning for Trump

Julian Zelizer
January 13
    To say that Donald Trump is not acting presidential is not to romanticize what we have seen from previous inhabitants of the office. But it is to hold him accountable for going far beyond the proper limits on presidential behavior.
    The biggest danger is that by tolerating Trump's behavior in office, the public will make what he is doing and saying part of our conception of what it means to be presidential.
    It is vital that members of both parties admit what they see when these moments happen and avoid normalizing these kinds of reckless departures from presidential history. For if the political class, and the public, starts to brush these moments off as "Trump being Trump" or "nothing worse than what we have seen" we will lower the bar so far it will be impossible to ever repair the presidency.
    Read more here.

    Lucia Brawley: Let's be honest about Aziz Ansari

    Lucia Brawley
    January 17
    As a society, we must take this incident -- appearing in the public consciousness during our #MeToo moment -- as an opportunity to have some painful, nuanced conversations.
    For example: Sexual assault and rape are never the victim's fault. But we cannot indiscriminately start destroying careers over consensual sexual activity, which based on her account is what this case appears to be.
    When we do that, we trivialize the brave victims who are coming forward about actual sex crimes.
    Read more here.

    Simone Biles: I went from foster care to the Olympics

    Simone Biles
    February 5
    Although I was young when my foster care ordeal began, I remember how it felt to be passed off and overlooked. Like nobody knew me or wanted to know me. Like my talents didn't count, and my voice didn't matter.
    Finding a family made me feel like I mattered. Finding a passion, something I loved and was really good at, made me feel like I mattered. Representing my country and being part of such an amazing Olympic team matters, as does being a role model for those looking to fulfill their own dreams.
    Read more here.

    Cameron Kasky, Parkland student: My generation won't stand for this

    Cameron Kasky
    February 15
    We can't ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises. And so, I'm asking -- no, demanding -- we take action now.
    Why? Because at the end of the day, the students at my school felt one shared experience -- our politicians abandoned us by failing to keep guns out of schools.
    But this time, my classmates and I are going to hold them to account. This time we are going to pressure them to take action. This time we are going to force them to spend more energy protecting human lives than unborn fetuses.
    Read more here.

    Peggy Drexler: Why does Melania stay?

    Peggy Drexler
    February 17
    But perhaps most important, although divorcing Trump would surely please the "Free Melania" crowd, the first lady hasn't really shown that she cares much what other people think of her -- or needs to be saved.
    She has not tried particularly hard to win public approval: Besides her scant appearances and botched RNC address, she's become known for wearing the wrong things at the wrong time, like when she donned a pair of Manolos to visit victims of Hurricane Harvey. Which is also why it's perhaps too hopeful to expect that the pressure of these new revelations (which, let's be honest, are likely not new to her) will cause her to leave the life she seems comfortable in -- one that's very clearly sponsored by, if not warmly inclusive of, the President.
    Read more here.

    Gloria Borger: The great unraveling: Trump's allies are really worried about him

    Gloria Borger
    March 2
    Not since Richard Nixon started talking to the portraits on the walls of the West Wing has a president seemed so alone against the world.
    One source -- who is a presidential a