Gov. Huckabee was the only presidential candidate to attend the services at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s former church in Atlanta, Ebeneezer Baptist Church. Bill Clinton did represent his wife. Not too much is probably going to be made of this visit — although there should be. Gov. Huckabee appears to be the only Republican willing to look beyond the “traditional” Republican consistency and reach out to all Americans.
I found an interesting comment that Gov. Huckabee made before the service and looked up the reference. He told reporters before the service,
Before heading into the church, Huckabee praised King and said his message cuts across racial as well as party lines. And though King’s ”I Have a Dream” speech is best known, Huckabee said, his best speech was “The Drum Major Instinct.”
”It was one of the most powerful messages probably ever delivered in this country,” Huckabee said. King delivered the speech two months before he was assassinated.
I had never heard of that speech — and I’d studied the Civil Rights movement for huge research projects in high school. I searched the internet for the speech, and much to my surprise, I saw in the first couple of paragraphs why Gov. Huckabee believes this speech is Dr. King’s best one:
Now very quickly, we would automatically condemn James and John, and we would say they were selfish. Why would they make such a selfish request? But before we condemn them too quickly, let us look calmly and honestly at ourselves, and we will discover that we too have those same basic desires for recognition, for importance. That same desire for attention, that same desire to be first. Of course, the other disciples got mad with James and John, and you could understand why, but we must understand that we have some of the same James and John qualities. And there is deep down within all of us an instinct. It’s a kind of drum major instinct—a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. And it is something that runs the whole gamut of life.
And so before we condemn them, let us see that we all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. Alfred Adler, the great psychoanalyst, contends that this is the dominant impulse. Sigmund Freud used to contend that sex was the dominant impulse, and Adler came with a new argument saying that this quest for recognition, this desire for attention, this desire for distinction is the basic impulse, the basic drive of human life, this drum major instinct.
And you know, we begin early to ask life to put us first. Our first cry as a baby was a bid for attention. And all through childhood the drum major impulse or instinct is a major obsession. Children ask life to grant them first place. They are a little bundle of ego. And they have innately the drum major impulse or the drum major instinct.
Now in adult life, we still have it, and we really never get by it. We like to do something good. And you know, we like to be praised for it. Now if you don’t believe that, you just go on living life, and you will discover very soon that you like to be praised. Everybody likes it, as a matter of fact. And somehow this warm glow we feel when we are praised or when our name is in print is something of the vitamin A to our ego. Nobody is unhappy when they are praised, even if they know they don’t deserve it and even if they don’t believe it. The only unhappy people about praise is when that praise is going too much toward somebody else. (That’s right) But everybody likes to be praised because of this real drum major instinct….