The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
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By Cindy McCain
September 15, 2021 7:15 AM EDT

Rare are politicians who don’t claim to put country before party. Rarer still are those who actually have. Representative Liz Cheney, a rock-ribbed Republican raised by unflinching conservatives, is the rarest species of politician yet, the ambitious officeholder who risks her office to speak the unwelcome truth to her own side.

My late husband enjoyed a reputation for political independence. When John was alive, he was dedicated to the dignity of the truth, just as Liz Cheney is today. By insisting that the 2020 election had been free and fair, that the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was an assault on America’s democratic character and that President Trump bore responsibility for it, she set an example of selfless patriotism that will endure long after her own ambitions are at rest.

Representative Cheney knew, as John did, that parties don’t define a nation’s political character. We are all protected by the same Constitution, the same democratic values, and as she faithfully maintained, “We must be brave enough to defend [them].”

McCain is a philanthropist and author

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