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August 27, 2014, 4:54 am

What we really need is an emperor

Is the whole, “One president-100 senators-435 U.S. representatives-thing” still working for us? Is that form of government as effective today as it was when it was developed by those well-meaning “Founding Fathers,” back in 1787?

To tell you the truth? I think not.

In fact, a great deal has changed in the last 225 years, since the U.S. Constitution was signed. For example, the country’s population today stands at just above 314 million people. Just three years after the Constitution was signed, there was a grand total of 3.9 million American citizens and slaves here. And, by May 1790, there were 13 states, as compared to 50, today. Sometimes, new circumstances dictate the need for modifications, in even the best-laid plans, or the best-designed governments.

For example, every four years, we elect a president who makes a number of claims and commitments to the voters. Increasingly, however, during the term, and, especially, at election time, the incumbent is forced to admit that he simply couldn’t move his agenda past a non-cooperative opposing party, or a non-cooperative House, or a non-cooperative Senate, or a non-cooperative Supreme Court. So far, we’ve all simply shrugged our collective shoulders, put our heads down and gone back, obediently, to the polling places to vote, again, for someone who, admittedly, simply can’t “move the needle.” The great problem is that we no longer have the luxury of simply repeating this process, year in and year out. The country, its economy and virtually all of its people, are in deep and immediate crisis.

So, here’s my recommendation to fix all of that.

Maybe, rather than a president, a House and a Senate, we need an emperor, here in the U.S.A.

Don’t be shocked! Nothing beats imperial authority and its uncontested, “buck stops here” power, when you really need to get things done, and, if you think that’s extreme, think about this for a minute: For about 500 years, mighty Rome was ruled by a single person — an emperor. Over thousands of years, and up through the early 20th century, China was led by a series of emperors, and, likewise, another series of emperors, in an uninterrupted line tracing back 3,000 years, led Ethiopia, which, by the way, was the only African nation that was able to successfully fight off European colonization, in the late 19th century.

Perhaps the whole emperor thing isn’t that bad, after all, when you really think about it.

In fact, since I don’t see a lot of hands being raised to volunteer, if asked to do so, I’d be proud to serve in that capacity. I do have some ideas on the subject and, as I think about it, there are several things I’d change immediately, if I’d somehow manage to become the first emperor of the United States.

For example, as the new emperor, I would issue a sweeping statement confirming that I was strongly in favor of support for Black people, in the same way that President Barack Obama recently expressed his own support for same-sex marriages. Couldn’t hurt. Maybe some minds would be opened.

In my empire, financial institutions would have to make loans available to Black folks who are gainfully employed, or who have sound businesses, in the same way they’ve always done for whites — at the same rates, with the same terms. If it could be proved that they didn’t, those banks would be closed by the government.

If I were the emperor of the United States, the U.S. government would ensure that American people — regardless of race or ethnicity — received the highest quality education available in the world. There would be no schools that would be allowed to exist with a concentration of poor-quality teachers, no schools where low expectations would be acceptable, simply because the students happened to be Black, Hispanic or Asian. Schools that violated such policies, of course, would be closed.

I would also mandate, on my very first day as Emperor, that everyone in the country should NOT have to go to college. Instead, skilled trades and other professions would receive the same respect and have comparable earnings potential as careers that grew out of college degree programs. After all, the countries that are “eating our economic lunch,” today, are the ones that actually make things, that actually maintain a manufacturing infrastructure, and where people who work with their hands are not disrespected. Every day, we eat from plates they make, we sleep on beds they produce, we talk on phones they manufacture. Why can’t we do that, here?

When I’m emperor, there will be no racially demeaning/culturally disrespectful music, or films, permitted, anywhere in the country. Negative images do great damage.

When I am emperor, there will no longer be an eight-to-one incarceration rate for Blacks versus whites — even for the same, non-violent crimes. The judicial system would finally be free of racial bias. There would be periodic tracking, and judges who, for whatever reason, ruled in a racially imbalanced way, would be removed from the bench.

In my empire, “stop and frisk” would not be the most important political issue for controlling gun violence; rather, the discontinuation of the mass distribution of guns among American citizens would be the law of the land. There is no valid reason why there are more guns in the hands of the U.S. civilian population than there are civilians. Firearms would be manufactured for national defense and public safety, only. Any violators would be subject to capital punishment, as is already the case in other countries around the world, where gun violence is virtually non-existent.

When I’m emperor, the political process will no longer be totally dominated by the people who happen to have the most money. Why has that ever been the best way to run a country, in the first place? Candidates would not have to purchase political commercials, or raise a billion dollars to run for office. All viable candidates would have equal access to public communications channels to make their case. When I’m emperor, the media would go back to reporting political news, rather than making it.

All sports announcers/anchors/reporters would be made to understand that racially biased reporting is punishable by immediate loss of their jobs. It’s been embarrassing to see how NBC’s Olympic gymnastic reporters marginalized and demeaned Gabby Douglas, the brilliant young, Black athlete, right up to the point when she won the Gold Medal as the best all-around gymnast on earth. Former Olympian Tim Daggett was an especially outrageous offender. If I were emperor, right now, he’d be banned from sports TV — for life.

When I’m emperor, there will be no further tolerance of industries that virtually exclude African-American participation, i.e., journalism, advertising, public relations, dentistry, surgery, the Law, university faculties, judges, television network programmers and U.S. senators. Do I need to go on? It’s clear that, after 225 years, our current system of government is not getting the job done in those areas.

With Blacks constituting nearly 13 percent of the U.S. population, and Black businesses representing more than seven percent of small U.S. firms, African-American businesses would generate WAY more than one half of one percent of the nation’s gross revenues, and 1.2 percent of federal contracts, as they do today. As emperor, I’d fix that, too.

Hey, the way I see it, there’s not very much that a good, hard-working, all-powerful emperor can’t get done.

I’ve got a few hours available — when I’m not running my own business, riding my bike, or playing the saxophone.

If that sounds too crazy, then what? We all know that the definition of insanity is doing things the same way and expecting a different outcome.

What’s your suggestion?


A. Bruce Crawley is president and principal owner of Millennium 3 Management Inc.