In the fifties there was a scare about communism. They thought the communists were infiltrating America and that equality and freedom were un-American.
The communists had to be rooted out of music, film and TV and there was a big purge. Many important people, including Pete Seeger were blacklisted.
Certainly all the new Greenwich Village ‘Protest’ singers would have been. Being different was un-American. You had to be a conforming, jingoistic patriot or you were the enemy.
Cuba was a communist bastion. Richard just happened to be Cuban.
House Unamerican Blues Activity Dream
I was standing on the sidewalk, had a noise in my head
There were loudspeakers babbling, but nothing was said
There were twenty-seven companies of female Marines
There were presidential candidates in new Levi jeans
It was the red, white and blue planning how to endure
The fife, drum and bugle marching down on the poor
God bless America, without any doubt
And I figured it was time to get out
Well, I have to b’lieve that in-between scenes, good people
Went and got ’em done in the sun, good people
Tourist information said to get on the stick
You ain’t moving ’til you’re grooving with a Cubana chick
So I hopped on a plane, I took a pill for my brain
And I discovered I was feeling all right
When I strolled down the Prado, people looked at me weird
Who’s that hippy, hoppy character without any beard?
Drinking juice from papayas, singing songs to the trees
Dancing mambo on the beaches, spreading social disease
Now the Castro convertible was changing the style
A whole lot of action on a blockaded isle
When along come a summons in the middle of night
Saying, “Buddy, we’re about to indict”
When I went up on the stand with my hand, good people
You’ve got to tell the truth in the booth, good people
Started out with information kind of remote
When a patriotic mother dragged me down by the throat
“When they ask you a question, they expect a reply!”
Doesn’t matter if you’re fixin’ to die
Well, I was lying there unconscious, feeling kind of exempt
When the judge said that silence was a sign of contempt
He took out his gavel, banged me hard on the head
He fined me ten years in prison and a whole lot of bread
It was the red, white and blue making war on the poor
Blind mother Justice on a pile of manure
Say your prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance every night
And tomorrow you’ll be feeling all right