And we're not talking about the big issues here - forget war, poverty, global warming, rising gas prices or, as I like to sum up the world's problems, Republicans.
In my experience the Republicans, particularly Conservative Republicans, have been the ones on the front lines of the battle you yourself describe in the first pages of the introduction. Conservative Republicans are the ones who still take responsibility for their children, teaching them basic manners. The area where I live has a mix of both political ideologies and when I walk into a restaurant I want to be seated near the Conservative Republicans because their children have table manners, say yes, ma'am and no, sir and have been taught that while they are loved and valued they are not the center of the world. Their children have been taught that loud does not equate with correct, that unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding you don't interrupt adult conversation and that feelings do not trump facts. Conservative Republicans are the ones recommending taking responsibility for yourselves and your children to the rest of the population. Conservative Republicans are the ones who think manners matter, that children should be allowed to be children and not be exposed to the things like the reality TV you mentioned that make them "mature", so quickly therefore some things just shouldn't be tolerated.
And that does translate to managing the bigger picture in that those are the children who will sit still and pay attention. Those are the children who will learn the lessons needed to solve or manage the big picture problems. While my list does not agree with yours on exactly what those big picture problems are, we are agreed in that we both have a list and it is worrisome.
We agree that manners are the code of civilization, the ones and zeroes that grease the areas where people rub up against one another. Without manners humans would never have been able to work together well enough to create this civilization and without manners, yes, we are rapidly sliding back into the dark ages.
However, you having taken on the task left open by the loss of Emily Post, I must say that I find it surprising that in the first pages of your book you choose to denigrate the largest group of people in the country who agree with your premise. In your defense you did start with a disclaimer, stating that you are not the standard bearer for good manners and I must regard that as accurate rather than merely self effacing. Do as I say, not as I do, indeed. And, no, I'm not a Republican coming to the defense of my own, I just have eyes and I can sure tell which side of the political spectrum has the best manners.