Democracy on review at HOA committees

Back in August 2012, our first experience to attend an HOA open forum when the HOA legal counsel was invited to address homeowners for the Board did not go so well.

That is, an attorney representing the long-time counsel for the HOA came to the meeting solely to help put disgruntled homeowners in this place after the board had made a controversial, unpopular decision.

Essentially (I paraphrase), the attorney explained: "The HOA is not a democracy and there was nothing that homeowners could do to override the board decision."

As it turns out, something was done about 18 months later when, after mediation, the decision was reversed and homeowner democracy prevailed.
Another area in which democracy is prevalent in HOAs has to do with committee work.

If these volunteer groups did not follow a democratic model, why would a homeowner volunteer for the role?