As a kid growing in Iran, I repeatedly heard this saying from Ali (a very prominent religious figure, and the son in law of the prophet). In original Arabic, the saying goes something like this: “لا تنظر إلى من قال وانظر إلى ما قال.” . In colloquial Persian we used to say “ببین چی میگن کاری نداشته باش کیه که میگه”. Or in English something like “Look what it is they say, doesn’t matter who they are”.
The point being, at least me as a child took it this way, don’t dismiss people’s arguments just because you have had a negative impression of them in the past. Or always give people the benefit of the doubt and such. Or don’t dismiss people’s arguments because you already believe they are on the wrong side.
Of course this is great advice, I still believe. Like all advice, you need to take it with a dash of common sense of course.
Today, I was thinking about the other side of this. When someone says something that sounds obviously wrong to you, just don’t look at what it is they are saying, also look at who they are. Often times, in the context of someone’s life a sentence acquires a different meaning not expressed in the words, but in the spaces between them.
Nevertheless I think I still need reminding to give all arguments from all parties more time.