The media frequently reports that Americans are more divided than ever. Public discussion around issues such as gun rights, jobs, immigration, climate change, abortion and race seem to have become increasingly polarized.
Intent on escaping her coastal bubble, Alexandra Pelosi (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Journeys with George”) sets out on a cross-country trip to engage in conversations with fellow Americans in an effort to gain an unfiltered understanding of other perspectives. Directed, produced and filmed by Pelosi, OUTSIDE THE BUBBLE: ON THE ROAD WITH ALEXANDRA PELOSI visits hot spots in America’s political and culture wars for frank discussions when it debuts MONDAY, OCT. 29 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
The documentary will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.
In Sutherland Springs, Texas, site of the 2017 First Baptist Church mass shooting, which resulted in 26 deaths, Pelosi meets survivors and relatives of the deceased to discuss the intersection of guns, tragedy and religion. On her next stop, in rural Alabama, she meets women who voted for President Trump, who share their thoughts about abortion rights and the #MeToo movement.
Driving north to Pennsylvania, Pelosi talks to blue-collar workers who feel ignored and disrespected by the “coastal elites.” She journeys inside a coal mine to meet miners who cast their votes for President Trump because they felt he gave them a voice and would work to ensure their job security.
Next, Pelosi ventures to Port Arthur, Texas, which was devastated by Hurricane Harvey, one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. In the heart of America’s petrochemical industry, she speaks with Derrick Freeman, the town’s mayor, about global warming and Harvey’s catastrophic impact. Freeman observes that his city’s residents are more concerned about jobs than anything else, and can’t think about the environment while they are unemployed and worrying about paying the bills. Pelosi also speaks to Judy Nichols, who disputes the notion that oil refineries cause climate change, and believes the planet is able to absorb the chemicals released by the refineries.
Pelosi then travels to Charlottesville, Va., the quaint college town where a march by neo-Nazis turned violent. Her conversations with residents revolve around race and history, as symbolized by the Confederate markers that are prevalent in the South and have become a focal point in the debate on race in America today.
Pelosi’s final stop is San Diego, where she visits the border wall to discuss immigration with activists and agents on the front line, including President Trump supporters who back his push for increased border security. Border Patrol agent Chris Harris emphasizes the importance of the wall in protecting the country he loves, explaining the need for improved infrastructure to identify and arrest smugglers and cartel members. He accompanies Pelosi to a location along the border where he points to the lack of effective infrastructure, as they witness a man cross into the United States unimpeded.
Reflecting on her journey, Pelosi emphasizes the importance of getting outside our bubbles and listening to others, in the process learning to accommodate different narratives and viewpoints.