Yet people change their minds all the time, for all kinds of reasons. Rarely are our motives entirely pure, but what these various officials and CEOs held in their hearts at the moment of decision is frankly far less important than the decision’s consequence — in 20 years, the impact of the removal of the Confederate flag from polite American society will remain; what the CEO of Amazon was thinking at the time won’t matter.
Moreover, all of society is improved when we allow each other a margin of error. When we give credit to leaders who get on the right side of history, we encourage them and others (and ourselves) to continue to be introspective, honest, and open to change. We make it easier for the next person to make the leap.
Finally, when we acknowledge changes of heart by people with whom we seldom agree, it becomes easier to engage them on other issues — such as, in the case of Haley and Walmart, gun legislation and sales. One day after the attack on Emanuel AME and two days before she called to lower the flag, Haley expertly dodged a Today Show question about new gun laws.