The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Politics, race and religion are touchy subjects, but they can also inspire fascinating conversations. CNN iReporters had a lot to say in 2011 -- from debates on atheism, gay marriage and interracial relationships to an unlikely Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina. They also took time to comfort a young boy whose father was killed in Afghanistan.
Here's a look at the iReports that attracted the most comments of 2011:
7. Occupiers take K Street -- 627 comments
Armando Gallardo's dramatic photos of arrests during an Occupy protest in Washington this month inspired a spirited discussion about the future of the Occupy movement and whether the demonstrations were doing more harm than good.
6. Same-sex marriage brings out love and hate in NYC -- 673 comments
Julio Ortiz-Teissonniere was outside the city clerk’s office in Manhattan on the first day that New York state allowed same-sex couples to get married. He captured a festive series of photographs as couples smiled and posed while waiting in line as well as pictures of protesters who objected to the ceremonies.The debate on the story was also mixed: Some commenters wished the couples well, while others were upset that the weddings were allowed. But some didn't see what the fuss was about.
5. Struggles of an interracial couple -- 821 comments
Janna Lynn Imel says some of her relatives won't talk to her because she's white and her boyfriend is black. She says it hurts that the people she cares about look down on her and even call her names because of her relationship. Her post drew more than 800 comments from others in interracial relationships, people who wanted to offer support and some who tried to explain her family's attitudes.
4. Judgment Day -- May 21, 2011? -- 964 comments
Frequent iReporter Greg Reese spotted a billboard that warned the world was coming to an end on May 21, 2011. Reese went to downtown Cincinnati and asked people what they thought. His video sparked a passionate conversation on the Bible and the possibility that Judgment Day was coming. The discussion also got a little silly at times.
3. 'I will NOT take my Confederate flag down!!!' -- 1,025 comments
Byron Thomas is a proud Southerner and was upset when the housing office at his college told him not to fly a Confederate flag in his dorm room. He's also black. His iReport raised questions about race and heritage and whether symbols such as the Confederate flag and the swastika could escape their infamous pasts.
2. Atheist billboard goes up for the holidays -- 1,319 comments
Lulis Leal took these photos of an atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel and said she was surprised how angry it made people. The story got a lot of reaction from Christians as well as from atheists who enjoy the Christmas season. It also inspired us to ask how nonbelievers celebrate the holidays.
1. Son's tribute to a fallen soldier -- 1,714 comments
Braydon Nichols, 10, posted a tribute to his father because he didn't want people to forget his dad. Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols was one of 38 U.S. and Afghan troops killed when their Chinook chopper was shot down in August. The outpouring of support was heartwarming, with hundreds of comments thanking Braydon for his sacrifice, offering advice and promising never to forget his father. True to their word, many people didn't forget and posted comments months later because they were thinking about Braydon as school started and during the holiday season.
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Very awesome reports!
CNN iReports bring issues to the world for viewers to comment and discuss. Whatever side of the issue you are on, iReports provide a platform to understand who we are, what we think, and where we are going as a people. Discuss, learn, and share.
The son's tribute to his dad still makes me sad.
If anyone asks yet again, why the OCCUPIERS all over the United States are protesting. Listen up!
“You control our world. You've poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You've liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants... to your decadence. You've stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic human rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You've profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living(while lowering our wages). You've monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit...we are bleeding... but we ain't got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution! WAKE UP AMERICA! SUPPORT OCCUPY!
To Occupy 67...
You are very good at pointing the finger. How about you start a company using the ideals you preach. I think it would be a good, productive way to make a difference.
Justaguest27 - You loan me the money, and I will start the company - deal?
Despite all of these truths, your movement has been leaderless (on purpose). Even angry people need direction and leadership. Since the occupy movement provides none, it will fail.
"How about you start a company using the ideals you preach."
I remember using arguments like this in 6th grade. The old, "let's see you pitch for the Yankees." Just because someone doesn't have the means or desire to be part of a particular business doesn't mean that those who have don't have responsibilities to society. Stop being so simple.
I refuse to respect or support any mob action that has to hide their faces. You want to make a statement - expose your faces, and then take a stand. Own it like the worthless slime you are, and cover your faces.
When I stop reading how it's someone else's fault and start reading about the responsibility of one's personal choices, I'll start giving Occupy credibility. Until then, I'll take responsibility for my choices and take action accordingly.
A wonderful thing to do at year's end.
In response to LaDDD... I agree with you 100%! Couldn't have said it better myself.
Occupy67 / Justaguest27:
Yes, this country has its share of problems. Politicians & corporate bosses make decisions driven by power and greed. The dwindling middle class is part of the problem too, however. It's driven by the desire for high returns on their investments and 401k retirement plans. Unions, relying on beliefs from the industrial age and led by individuals with the same power and greed of their corporate counterparts, have sought to maximize membership wages while failing to realize we are now in a world economy. Meanwhile, the under and unemployed struggle to maintain what they once had. And, those living in poverty will continue to grow in numbers - some not by choice, and others by laziness as they expect government handouts, instead of taking personal responsibility (starting with a free high school diploma), to take care of them.
Yep. There are lot of problems. Justaguest's response is overly simplistic and wholly unrealistic.
So, Occupy67, instead of shouting out to those in control with little incentive to change, why not use the collective brainpower of the occupy movement to formulate solutions. Otherwise, your rhetoric is nothing more than complaining - i.e. noise that most of us simply tune out.
Great review, David. Thank you. Gives us a chance to see some of the most controversial ones, and some we may have missed. We can also visit each ireport and post our own two cents there, where the ireporter will see the comment and he - along with others interested will be able to respond. Happy holiday and wishing you the best in the new year.
As an avid CNN fan for more years than I can remember, I'm a little disturbed by the attitude of Piers Morgan while being questioned at the inquiry in the hacking scandal in the UK. Under his watch at the 2 newspapers he was editor of years ago, he admitted that some of these incidents happened. He obviously doesn't see anything wrong with doing this illegal act. If it was his voice mails and other private communications etc. that were hacked he'd have a different attitude for sure. I wonder why CNN hired him and still employ him with his obvious lack of integriety and ethics as a journalist. Will not watch his program, and there are a lot of other journalists they could have given this hour program to after Larry King retired.
Occupy67 - Excellent enumeration of key facts. My guess is that those who criticize Occupy don't connect the dots on many of the issues you mentioned so don't understand the underlying impetus driving Occupy. Not many U.S. Citizens automatically second guess the corporate media's collusive renderings or realize that they're last three + President's were nothing more than front men coached to tell them what they wanted to hear with insignificant concern for honesty. My experience suggests that no good deed goes unpunished and Occupy's won't either but if it helps, some of us with the experience and education to debunk the propaganda do appreciate Occupy's efforts.
Others will eventually and hopefully in time to ward off the labor camps and murderous police state that is much closer to a reality than most imagine. Then again, if the passage of the NDAA didn't wake them up, then they probably can't be woken up. Unfortunately, those who fight the evil inevitably must fend off the ignorant as well who are too stupid to recognize they're saviors when they see them. Some will side with the familiar evil even as the gas pellets are hitting the water. Heroism is a lonely job. Good Luck.
These ireports in 2011 seem to be more concerntrated on individual performances than some heroic or cooperative behavior in reality. Perhaps they are the most vivid description of Americans today, while the econony crisis and political election can both function very well in a different planet.
Thanks for your hard work during the past year anyway!