I was outraged when the Tea Party Express bus ended its national tour in Suisun City a few days ago.
Not for political reasons, for civic pride reasons.
Because a reporter (I won’t name him, but his name rhymes with “Larry Feberling”) expressed surprise that a cross-country tour didn’t end in a bigger city.
Bigger city? Is he demeaning my town? And even if he isn’t, is it possible for me to write 500-plus words about it and make it pass as a weekly column?
The idea that someone would suggest that Suisun City (population 28,111, according to the 2010 census) isn’t “big” is to ignore history. And by that, I mean history. Literally.
Suisun City isn’t big enough? How big do you need to be? And when?
Let me remind skeptics of this: If you transplanted Suisun City’s current population back just 202 years – to 1810 – it would be the fifth-largest city in America!
Yeah! We’d be No. 5 — behind only New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore!
Of course, our cars would be seen as miracles by the bug-eyed colonists, who would be subjects of Spain, not the United States. But you’re trying to get me off the point I’m making, which is that Suisun City is a major city.
Just misplaced in history.
Heck, go back 192 years – to 1820 – and Suisun City would be the nation’s eighth-largest city. It would be slightly smaller than Northern Liberties, Pa., which is now part of Philadelphia, and Brooklyn, which is now part of New York City. So you could make the case that it would be No. 6.
Would you call the sixth-largest city in the United States (albeit 192 years later) not big enough to be a destination for the end of a cross-country trip?
I doubt if the American Indians and the Spaniards in the missions in 1820 would disagree – especially after I showed them my smartphone and big-screen TV! They’d probably “like” my Facebook post about meeting them.
Suisun City is a big city. It’s just misplaced in history.
Oh, sure. Compared to early American history, that’s an easy case to make.
Not so quick, my friend.
Let’s go back 4,000 years. Yeah, 40 centuries. Let’s compare Suisun City to the world – much to the chagrin of my friend “Larry Feberling.”
In the year 2000 BCE, according to Wikipedia (and what better source is there for scientific research?), Suisun City’s current population, transplanted back in time, would make it the eighth-largest city.
In the world!
Yeah. You’ve got larger metropolises such as Ur (where city planners joked about it being an “Ur-ban area”) and Memphis (the blues are very old) as the top two. Then a cluster of cities – you know, Larak, Lagash, Kish. Those kinds of cities.
But Suisun City – sometimes knocked as the smaller cousin of Fairfield – would be the eighth-largest city in the world.
If an ancient version of the Tea Party Express – maybe the Hammurabi Chariot Express – went across the known world (and let’s admit that it would require crossing an ocean to get here), it would certainly be honored to stop in Suisun City.
So before you start calling Suisun City a small town, remember that it’s only that because it exists now.
It’s an accident of history.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.