Obviously we're just coming out of an uncharacteristically shitty week, but all in all I'd say that even though we clearly still have more than our fair share of serious problems, the decade is off to a pretty great start.
Politically, the economy is slowly but surely improving. We have a much more acute awareness of the massive income disparity in this country and the changes we need to make to fix it (say what you will about the Occupy movement, but their rhetoric has become a permanent part of American political discourse). We're finally out of that horrible mess of a war in Iraq and we're back in the places we should have been in the first place. Even though it was heavily compromised and continues to be threatened, we passed the biggest overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system in 50 years. Despite the recent setback, we're still on the path to more sensible gun laws. Marriage equality is spreading incredibly fast, and LGBTQ people are finding much more acceptance in society than they had even in the previous decade. Marijuana legalization is gaining serious traction for the first time.
Plus, with the Arab Spring a region that had once been dominated by authoritarianism is now pushing towards more free, democratic systems. And the regime in North Korea looks like it might be on its last legs.
Culturally, pop music is still mostly shit like it always was, but we've reached an interesting point where idiosyncratic and independent artists from all over the world can suddenly find themselves with a massive hit thanks to YouTube. Movies are still stuck in the endless cycle of reboots, ripoffs and sequels, but on the other hand the nerd takeover of mainstream cinema over the last decade is reaching its apex now. The biggest franchises are all in capable hands (Christopher Nolan, Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams) and this summer is full of original sci-fi/fantasy films from unique directors. TV had something of a renaissance in the '00s, and now there are all sorts of newer shows tinkering with the medium in interesting ways (Louie, Girls, Adventure Time, Game of Thrones, etc.). Video games are a bloated mess, but they look about ready to buckle under the weight, and indies are flourishing like never before.
But the best part is that what goes on in the mainstream doesn't even have to matter anymore, because the Internet has made any niche instantly accessible and provided artists with new avenues to fund, create and distribute their work, with everything from YouTube and Kickstarter to Facebook and Twitter (and okay, sure, Newgrounds). Generally speaking, there is no better time to be an independent artist than right now.
So yeah, people love to complain but when it comes down to it things are mostly getting better.