Ya gotta put things in perspective. There isn't any more racism in this country than there ever was. No more geographic division. No more religious mania. No more poverty. No more ignorance. No more graft and corruption. People aren't generally any stupider or ill informed. You can find differences because things do change but all things considered, it's not too much different than it ever was.
I'm not too worried about the Right taking us back to the way things were or the Left turning us all into Communists. Nothing like that has ever happened before. The current economic crisis isn't going to bring about the end of the World or even change it very much.
There have been great changes since I was young. There are a lot more of us. We are from a lot more diverse cultures and places. More of us live packed closer together, around fewer large megalopolises. The people are pretty much the same though. They have the same problems and the same aspirations. The real changes have been technological. We have a lot more access to each other through electronic media. Most people enjoy this and think it's a good thing but not everybody. There is never total agreement on anything.
Some old institutions are dying and new ones are taking their place. I don't think the new ones are better or the old ones were bad. It's just a reflection of what people want.
I think it's more fun living now than it was thirty or forty years ago. I think it will be even more fun thirty or forty years from now. I'm sorry I will be dead by then. Who knows, maybe they can make me into a cyborg brain and plug me into the net. I doubt it, my brain is wearing out right along with the rest of me. Maybe quicker.
I think that because it is a larger and more diverse society, the fringe groups are more wacky than ever. The groups targeted for discrimination are also farther out of the mainstream. This means it's easier than ever to leave the fringe and enter the mainstream or to avoid being targeted for discrimination. Since there are always going to be fringe groups and targets of discrimination, it's good that people don't have to be stuck there, if they don't want to be.
I try not to pretend that there aren't people a lot different than me out there. I have friends that do and believe stuff that sometimes I don't like to think about. I do think about it though. They're just people, like everybody else. They don't think they are doing anything bad. There are reasons that they are the way they are. If I can't appreciate that, it may be my problem. Even if they are bad people, if I hit them on the side of the head with my framing hammer, it makes me a bad person too. Can't have that.