Lennart nor systemd force things on others. The systemd developers had a upstream/downstream discussion at FOSDEM. It was announced on their mailing list, it was announced + arranged eventually via Google+. People from various distributions participated, Debian as well.
The seem to be that systemd is a "take it or leave it" and that Lennart somehow makes people do things against their will. While actually there are a lot of people who work within distributions who also do not see the need for so many differences between distributions.
systemd reduces those differences. The work is done by people who agree to that. Those people participate in all the ideas. Lennart & co go to loads of conferences to ensure they reach out to the people who actually make things happen.
It would be nice if you went to FOSDEM and just followed what goes on. Everything is in the open, etc.