I do believe that things have been sliding politically, but that we're just sliding back to our "natural" level. Of course where we go from there is up in the air. I'm not massively optimistic, but that's mostly because it's really difficult to develop the kinda society we'd like. In some ways we look like a good democracy, but until a different government (with different people behind it) can peacefully be voted into power we're not one. Any suggestion that we could honestly do that I think is pretty crazy.
I'm not overly pessimistic either and think any Zimbabwe talk is massively overblown. The big problem for the moment is instability. That's bad, but I'll bet it'll settle down more or less; the Zumerites have won.