Nancy, Chuck: Take a deep breath and a step back. We, the American people, need some adults in the room.

It is clear to the majority of us that President Donald Trump's insistence on a "wall" is not the best use of funds to secure the border in a legitimate way. It is clear to the majority of us that he has willfully refused to open government agencies having nothing to do with border security. We get it. But you are not going to change Donald Trump's intransigence by being intransigent yourselves.

Pressure, except from those who support him, is not going to break him. His concern for what he perceives as his own well-being far outweighs his care for the country.

We need you to provide wise governance that recognizes and works around the president's limitations. We need you to take care of the country.

I was disturbed weeks ago, Chuck, when I heard you state that Trump had "to give up his wall." Clearly, being who he is, seeing the world as he sees it, he cannot and will not do that. Come to terms with the fact that you are dealing with a person whose life is governed in stark "win-lose" terms — in which "win" has only the scope of his own perceived well-being.

This shutdown is hurting individual people and it is hurting the country. Trump is not going to relieve that hurt, but you, as Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House, must. You must be the adults in the room. Stop fighting Trump. Take care of the country.

You had a great strategy of passing bills to open and fund all units of government to the end of the year, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which would have received short-term funding to allow time for negotiations. Good try, but Trump caved to the right-wing ideologues who control him. You are not going to change that. It is time to negotiate with him on the wall. There is no shame or defeat in doing what needs to be done for the good of the country.

While $5-6 billion seems like a huge number to me, we know that in overall budget terms it is a pittance. At one point, there was bipartisan agreement to invest $22 billion in border security and safety.

There is opportunity here to give a little and get a lot. My choice would be providing permanent security to the young people in the DACA dilemma.

Give Trump enough to satisfy his base. He won't settle otherwise; he will put the country through weeks and months of this. But get something big back.

Nancy, I respect you, but a simple "no" at this point does not strike me as responsible. Wouldn't it have been better to say, "Let's talk about it"?

There is too much damage being done to innocent people's lives and to our national structures. Accept who Donald Trump is and take care of the country.

Mae Seely Sylvester lives in St. Paul.