As public debate goes, 2012 was full of contention. The newsmakers, public intellectuals and spinmeisters were indeed busy making sense of the world around us.
The past year featured some blockbuster debates and expensive campaigns, as well as some grassroots political and cultural battles. And, in hindsight, some of the debates did not even come close to being settled this year. Alaska's high court has recently ensured, for example, that the debate over the state's redistricting process will stay alive for at least another year. And fish and wildlife have been a contentious issue in Alaska since long before statehood, even since before Raven deeply insulted Salmon Woman.
What's more, some of the answers arrived at in the past year by consensus and argument simply created new sticking points. The end of oil tax reform looked pretty much settled with the implosion of last year's special session, but will that billion-dollar debate split into dozens of constituent pieces and related arguments in 2013?
For that matter, will the rancorous rift exposed in the Alaska Republican Party affect its apparent new legislative dominance in 2013? Will coastal zone management arise from the dead? How will Alaskans continue addressing the epidemic of suicide and violence that plague their communities? When the international community arrives in the rapidly opening Arctic, will Alaska be ready?
Below, relive some of the most significant opinions published in 2012 by Alaska Dispatch. And in reading them, imagine you're glimpsing the future.