The things that are so conspicuously missing in our current culture compared to past American cultures, and I do realize it's all relative, is the conscious valuation of honor and integrity in what we do. Most of the crap that is now part of American politics, media, business, and celebrity wouldn't happen if people had the same overt commitment to honor and integrity that the Washingtons, Lincolns, Marshalls (George, Thurgood, and John--think they were related???), and other true American leaders had. Just pay attention to how many times you hear the terms seriously, not cynically, discussed. Get into a conversation about how people should forgo this or avoid that in the name of maintaining honor and integrity and watch people's eyes roll and their bodies start inching away from you.
The Christian Science Monitor has a review of a book on integrity not only interesting because of its topic but because of the history of the author, Egil Krogh, one of the Watergate criminals (the fact that we're seeing the same values underlying Watergate underlying so many aspects of American political, business, religious, and just general social life with no irony or remorse basically makes the point of the top paragraph). Krogh, as you will read in the review, learned from his crimes and came out better on the other side, with much wisdom for those pursuing the same paths in so many different venues these days. So the book actually sounds like a two-fer--not just a call for a badly needed ingredient in any decent society but also a treatment of how an offender can learn his lesson and turn his life around. I'll be looking for it. Sounds like you should, too.