Krauthammer: “Don’t touch my junk” is the new “don’t tread on me”

An instant classic. It’s like “Braveheart,” but with lots more groin allusions.

Imagine how different our national debate would have been this week if John Tyner had said to that TSA screener, “Don’t grab my crank” or “don’t wrangle my sack.” Maybe the Democrats are right, my friends: Maybe “messaging” really is everything.

Not quite the 18th-century elegance of “Don’t Tread on Me,” but the age of Twitter has a different cadence from the age of the musket. What the modern battle cry lacks in archaic charm, it makes up for in full-body syllabic punch.

Don’t touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the Tea Party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm election voter. Don’t touch my junk, Obamacare – get out of my doctor’s examining room, I’m wearing a paper-thin gown slit down the back. Don’t touch my junk, Google – Street View is cool, but get off my street. Don’t touch my junk, you airport security goon – my package belongs to no one but me, and do you really think I’m a Nigerian nut job preparing for my 72-virgin orgy by blowing my johnson to kingdom come?…

The junk man’s revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy. Metal detector? Back-of-the-hand pat? Okay. We will swallow hard and pretend airline attackers are randomly distributed in the population.

But now you insist on a full-body scan, a fairly accurate representation of my naked image to be viewed by a total stranger? Or alternatively, the full-body pat-down, which, as the junk man correctly noted, would be sexual assault if performed by anyone else?

This time you have gone too far, Big Bro’. The sleeping giant awakes.

Is it really awake, though? It is when it comes to the narrow issue of airport security (or is it?), but reading Kraut’s piece made me think of that Journal poll yesterday about how dimly most of the public views the recommendations in the Bowles/Simpson deficit reduction proposal. Fully 70 percent are “uncomfortable” with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or defense — which is to say, virtually the entire budget — and 60 percent are “uncomfortable” with eliminating the mortgage interest tax deduction or raising the gasoline tax to add revenue. They don’t want their junk touched, in other words, even though there actually is a bomb of sorts waiting to go off here. And in order to defuse it, the feds are going to have do an awful lot of “touching.” How’s that for a metaphor, dear readers? Long-term fiscal solvency as an official TSA crotch-fondling. May the image live in your mind forever.

As for the specific case of airline screening, Krauthammer’s alternative to junk-touching is profiling, of course. And no, contrary to received wisdom, it doesn’t have to mean racial profiling. Please do read Michael Totten’s op-ed in the New York Post today about his encounters with El Al screeners while traveling around the Middle East. Israeli Arabs are practically waved through the line, he reports, while he — a pale, blue-eyed American — is invariably pulled aside for interrogation once they see the stamps in his passports from Lebanon and Iraq. We’re a long, long way from the institutional momentum and personnel training we’d need at TSA to shift to something like that, but the fact that a tiny crack has appeared in their defense of the new screening procedures is a hopeful sign. Keep pushing!