When I start thinking things are going to hell in a handbasket, I remind myself that we--all humans--have made tremendous ethical advances. Look at the world's response to the enormous tragedy from the tsunami. No one cares about race or religion--we're donating money, sending people and supplies to help.
Remember the earthquake in Iran? We aren't exactly friendly with them--yet friend or foe, countries sent help.
In much of the world, civil rights are respected. We are (slowly, at times) coming to realize that a whole host of things--race, religion, sex, disabilities--are not the measure of a person.
Before you start missing the "good ol' days" too much, remember that they weren't good for everyone. Here in the US, it was (I believe) 1972 when the Supreme Court struck down laws against interracial marriage. Can you imagine not being able to marry the person you love because of race?
Go back just a bit further. Can you imagine being a pregnant woman--even a married pregnant woman--and being fired from your job due to that pregnancy?
Can you imagine being a woman who was raped and had no recourse, because public shame keeps you from reporting it?
Or just being a woman denied entry to medical school or law school because you're a woman?
Oh, I know. You're a woman who has managed to get a good education and a good job, but you're passed over for raises and promotions because a "family man" needs the money.
And a little over 40 years ago, when my aunt gave birth to a disabled child, there was no social support for her. No support groups, and precious little help to deal with the enormous responsibility.
I could go on and on. No, things aren't perfect, and sometimes they aren't even good. But I do believe that even with our missteps and problems and outright wrongs, we're moving in the right direction, overall.
A Happy New Year to all!