Episode I: The Trade Federation blockades Naboo, a perfectly legal act in the 'just' Republic. After crippling Naboo's interplanetary trade system, the Trade Federation invades. When Amidalia asks the Senate for support they do nothing! All they can do is call for an investigation. Naboo citizens are being starved and are dying but the Senate can't help them.
Episode II: An aid to the new Queen of Naboo states,
"Itís outrageous, but after four trials in the Supreme Court, Newt Gunrey is still the viceroy of the trade federation."
The Senate is so ineffective they can neither aid a planet under attack that is part of their 'republic,' nor can they perform a simply trial for a war criminal who caused the death of many civilians. The Republic is the same as the League of Nations, and the U.N. There are so many different planets with different ideals and interests that they cannot even agree on basic issues. They also have no military power like the modern U.N. They have the Jedi to keep order but they don't have the ability to protect the Republic.
Lamont wrote, "Star Wars has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people worldwide, in part because the saga celebrates heroism and the limitless potential of the individual."
Yes, Star Wars did show that a capable person could rise to extraordinary power...In the Empire. As Jedi? No! In Episodes IV, V, and VI the viewers think that anyone can be a Jedi. In Episode I though, we learn that the ability to control the force and join the Jedi order is reserved for the children of other Jedi and Force Sensitive people. If your parents don't have the ability to use the force, you won't either. The only person to have Force abilities without Force Sensitive parents is Anakin Skywalker. He was conceived by the Force. But he is the only case in which that happens.
More than just the fact that you need parents who can use the Force in order to become a Jedi you also have to look at the number of Jedi in the known galaxy. Out of the Trillions of people in the Republic, there are maybe about 50,000 - 500,000 who can wield the Force. More than just being an exclusionary order the Jedi are extremely few in number, so all that, 'limitless potential of the individual', is completely false in the Republic.
In the Empire on the other hand, Solo rises to the rank of Captain in a very short time span. Both Fett and Vader refer to Solo as, 'Captain', and it is known that he was a former Imperial pilot with the rank of Captain. What's very important to remember about this holy Rebel "Alliance" is that they willfully hire known criminals. If it can get them to Alderaan and past Imperial ships, they don't care about whom they're flying with. Not only is Solo a smuggler, he deals with the Hutts, a criminal organization that is extremely violent. While Solo is portrayed as a 'good' criminal with a heart of gold, he is helping the criminal underworld. He might not kill civilians but his illegal goods are no doubt illegal for very good reasons, including causing the death of civilians. All those commercials about the fact that people who buy drugs support people who kill cops and civilians aplly fully to Solo who is the nearest thing to a drug dealer you can get without handing them to customers!
And whom do Solo, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and the other rebels kill throughout Star Wars. Nameless, faceless Storm Troopers. A rebellious faction killing soldiers fighting and dying to end the rebellion...that is in no way comparable to the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan now, is it?
During the battle of Endor you see an Ewok dye and his friend mourn his death. You see Leia get shot and all the fuss about her poor little boo boo, but do you see the pain of any of the Storm Troopers? What about their wives and children? So the viewers wouldn't sympathize with the Storm Troopers, Lucas covered them from head to foot in armor. The rebels and Ewoks are shown with little to no armor so when they die you can sympathize that it is a tragedy and see their pain. The Empire may not have planetary representitives to wreak the system, and make people feel as though they have a voice, but it keeps order, propels society forward and keeps terrorist factions like the rebel "alliance" from creating havoc.
I'll go with the Empire over the terrorist rebels please.